Dallas — Former Gov. Rick Perry said Tuesday citizens should trust the military amid concerns about a training exercise scheduled to begin this summer in Texas that has riled conspiracy theorists.
"You know, I think our military is quite trustworthy," Perry added. "Civilian leadership – you can always question that, but not the men and women in uniform.”
Perry's successor, Greg Abbott, has asked the Texas State Guard to keep an eye on the exercise, known as Jade Helm 15. The two-month simulation is slated to start in July in states throughout the Southwest. Its skeptics believe it is a covert effort to institute martial law.
Abbott has taken some heat for getting involved, including from a former longtime GOP lawmaker. On Monday, Abbott defended the move, saying he is simply working to provide information to concerned citizens.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told Bloomberg over the weekend that his office had reached out to the Pentagon to inquire about the exercise. “We are assured it is a military training exercise. I have no reason to doubt those assurances, but I understand the reason for concern and uncertainty, because when the federal government has not demonstrated itself to be trustworthy in this administration, the natural consequence is that many citizens don’t trust what it is saying,” said the Republican presidential contender.
He said that he understood the concerns, since “we have seen, for six years, a federal government disrespecting the liberty of the citizens. That produces fear.”
His fellow GOP candidate Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) told Iowa radio host Jan Mickelson last week that he would look into questions surrounding the exercises.