Austin, Texas — In a state that once was its own nation, a Republican governor who talked about secession without completely dismissing the idea has Democratic lawmakers in an uproar.
Gov. Rick Perry, in comments following an anti-tax “tea party” Wednesday, never did advocate Texas breaking away from the United States but suggested that Texans might at some point get so fed up they would want to leave the union. That was enough to feed opinions for and against secession on Web sites, cable TV and talk radio across the nation.
At the Texas Capitol on Thursday, Rep. Jim Dunnam of Waco, joined by several fellow Texas House Democrats, said some people associate talk of secession with racial division and the Civil War and that Perry should disavow any notion of seceding.
“Talk of secession is an attack on our country. It can be nothing else. It is the ultimate anti-American statement,” Dunnam said at a news conference.
Perry emphasized Thursday that he is not advocating secession but understands why Americans may have those feelings because of frustration with Washington, D.C. He said it’s fine to express the thought. He offered no apology and did not back away from his earlier comments.