After initially balking at the opportunity to demand the immediate resignation of Attorney General Eric Holder, Republican presidential candidate and Texas Gov. Rick Perry has joined the crowd demanding that Holder step down.
“Holder’s proclaimed ignorance leaves Americans to draw one of two conclusions: Either he is guilty of extraordinary bureaucratic incompetence or he is guilty of a cover-up meant to shield him from the consequences of an operation that has left at least one federal agent dead and continues to imperil many more,” Perry wrote in a Washington Times op-ed published on Monday. “Either way, it is high time for Mr. Holder to step down. If he refuses to resign, Mr. Obama must fire him immediately.”
Perry is now the second presidential candidate to demand Holder’s immediate resignation because of Operation Fast and Furious. Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann was the first when she told The Daily Caller she thinks Holder needs to go last Friday.
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney have each made somewhat veiled calls for Holder’s resignation. Businessman Herman Cain said he backs the members of Congress pushing for Holder to step down. There are currently 52 congressmen demanding that Holder resign.
Texas Congressman Ron Paul, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman have not responded to requests from TheDC regarding where they stand on the issue. Romney’s campaign has refused to answer whether he thinks Holder should resign immediately. Santorum’s campaign hasn’t answered follow-up questions.
Perry detailed Holder’s missteps throughout the congressional investigation into Operation Fast and Furious. His call for Holder’s resignation is yet another sign of the issue’s potential to influence the election season if Holder remains in the Obama administration. Perry’s op-ed came mere hours ahead of Tuesday’s Heritage Foundation and American Enterprise Institute foreign policy-focused GOP debate, which will air nationwide on CNN. (RELATED: Issa: If Eric Holder is not ‘doomed,’ the Obama administration is)
“Hundreds of Fast and Furious firearms have been implicated in criminal activity, and another 1,400 firearms are on the street because the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives engaged in gun-walking – the selling of firearms to straw purchasers in an attempt to locate major weapons traffickers in Mexico,” Perry wrote. “This controversial tactic, involving thousands of weapons, means that brave law enforcement personnel along the border remain at risk.
“As details come to light, a larger shadow has been cast on Mr. Holder. When initially asked under oath to say when he first knew about Fast and Furious, Mr. Holder told the House Judiciary Committee on May 3, ‘I’m not sure of the exact date, but I probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks.’
“But the evidence casts serious doubt over that claim,” Perry continued. “First, President Obama had commented publicly on the operation, noting on March 22 – more than a month before Mr. Holder’s sworn statement — that an inspector general had been assigned to investigate the matter.”
Perry also nailed Holder for his failure to apologize to slain Border Patrol agent Brian Terry’s family “until he was confronted by Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican, earlier this month, nearly a year after Terry’s murder.”
“America simply cannot tolerate an attorney general who arms the very criminals he is supposed to protect us from and then refuses to comfort the grieving parents of a slain Border Patrol agent,” Perry wrote. “Nor can we tolerate a president who lacks the courage to take decisive action in restoring justice to the Department of Justice.”