Presidential candidate Rick Perry called this week’s Charleston Church shooting an “accident” in a recent interview — an apparent slip of the tongue, his spokesman said later.
Perry entered the topic by calling President Obama’s gun control message in the wake of the South Carolina tragedy, a “knee-jerk reaction,” when prompted by a Newsmax reporter.
“This is the M.O. of this administration, anytime there is a accident like this,” Perry told Steve Malzberg. “You know, the president’s clear. He doesn’t like for Americans to have guns, and so he uses every opportunity — this being another one — to basically go parrot that message.”
Shortly after Perry’s remark became a headline of its own, as well as a trending topic on social media, the politician’s press secretary Travis Considine claimed the former governor misspoke. “From the context of his comments, it is clear Gov. Perry meant incident,” Considine said in a statement.
Also on topic, Perry said that he wasn’t sure if the shooting was an act of terror, but that it was indeed a “crime of hate.”
He also suggested that confessed shooter, 21-year-old Dylann Roof, may have been “medicated.” One of Perry’s platforms is the issue of opioids he alleges are being handed out too easily to ex-military members.
“I know for a fact, being a substantial supporter of our military and our veterans, that the Veterans Administration, for instance, is handing out these opioids in massive amounts,” Perry said. “And then people question, ‘Well then why can’t these young individuals get work?’ or ‘Why is the suicide rate so high?'”
This isn’t the only time Perry has made a public political gaffe while running for the nation’s highest office. During the 2012 debate, Perry was unable to remember the third federal agency that he planned to eliminate if elected president.
Watch the video of Perry’s most-recent hiccup here.
Roof is accused of killing the nine victims at the historic black Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston on Wednesday night.