Texas Governor Rick Perry (R) stated on Thursday in an interview with the Washington Times that he intends to travel to Israel in October. The announcement comes just three days after he told reporters on Monday that he would not be seeking reelection for a fourth term as Texas governor.
“We will be going to Israel to bring together Arabs, Christians and Jews in an educational forum,” Perry said regarding his upcoming trip. His designation of ‘Arabs’ notwithstanding (as opposed to ‘Muslims,’ which was likely his intended meaning), many analysts interpret the trip as a sign of Perry’s intention to participate in the 2016 presidential race. When asked what would compel him to announce his bid for president, Perry responded in the Thursday interview that he has “plenty of time to make that decision.”
“Any future considerations I will announce in due time, and I will arrive at that decision appropriately, but my focus will remain on Texas,” Perry continued.
A trip to Israel has come to signify a necessary and expected step for potential presidential candidates, particularly within the GOP. American-Israeli relations form an important part of the conservative party line, and the trip offers a venue for potential candidates to establish their foreign policy credentials in the Middle East and highlight the importance of Israel’s relationship with the United States. Three other likely contenders for the Republican presidential candidacy, Sen Rand Paul (Kentucky), Sen. Marco Rubio (Floriday), and Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas), have all traveled to Israel this year as well.
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Perry remains on the short list of potential GOP candidates for the 2016 election despite his early withdrawal from the 2012 Republican primaries resulting from a series of mistakes made during one of the debates. Analysts suggest that Perry is taking his time planning a more cohesive campaign this time around in order to avoid the mistakes seen during his last, rapidly formulated run.