Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry attacked fellow presidential candidate Donald Trump for his statements on border security and immigration. Perry took issue with Trump's recent statements and said Trump has a "fundamental misunderstanding" of how to secure the border and the role of the states in doing so.
"I have a message for my fellow Republicans and the independents who will be voting in the primary process: What Mr. Trump is offering is not conservatism, it is Trump-ism — a toxic mix of demagoguery and nonsense," Perry said in a statement. "America doesn't need another president who pays lip service when issues of national security are at stake. America doesn't need another president who will pass the buck on border security. We need a president who will finally act to secure the border after decades of failed leadership in Washington, D.C. And Mr. Trump has done nothing to prove that he is the president America needs."
Trump has risen quickly to the top of national polls following his controversial statements about illegal immigration that demonstrates he favors a hawkish immigration policy. Trump polls second among all GOP presidential candidates nationally — behind only former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush — while Perry finishes in tenth place, according to RealClearPolitics average of polls. Perry is fighting for a spot on the debate stage early next month, while Trump's spot appears relatively secure after he filed additional paperwork with the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday.
Several Republicans have distanced themselves rhetorically from Trump, and the other presidential candidates that favor a hardline immigration policy seem to have made their decisions about whether to criticize The Donald based, in part, upon their own position in the polls.
Fellow presidential candidate Bobby Jindal has chastised Trump for his comments on illegal immigration despite his own hawkish view of immigration policy. Jindal's polling numbers indicate he would not make the first debate. He garners the support of fewer than 1.5 percent of GOP voters, according to RealClear Politics average.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, meanwhile, has offered his support for Trump's comments and met with him in private this week. Cruz is polling around 5 percent nationally, according to the same RCP average. Placing behind seven other Republican candidates, Cruz is poised to take the debate stage next month.
As the first GOP presidential debate approaches, Republican presidential hopefuls appear to be taking aim at Trump more than other GOP candidates in their struggle to make it onto the debate stage.