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Rick Perry Challenged the Election of Texas A&M's First Gay Student Body President

The energy secretary said he was "deeply troubled" by the results, but the university couldn't believe he cared.

by Brian Moylan
Mar 23 2017, 8:13pm

After Texas A&M elected its first openly gay student body president on Monday, Rick Perry took a quick break from managing the nation's nuclear arsenal to claim that the election was "stolen" in the "name of diversity" in an op-ed in the Houston Chronicle.

In a move that baffled school officials, Perry—an A&M alum—essentially said the student government election was rigged. Robert McIntosh, the son of a prominent Republican fundraiser, originally won the election by popular vote, but ended up getting disqualified. The election then went to Bobby Brooks, a 21-year-old openly gay junior.

"When I first read that our student body had elected an openly gay man, Bobby Brooks, for president of the student body, I viewed it as a testament to the Aggie character," Perry wrote. "I was proud of our students because the election appeared to demonstrate a commitment to treating every student equally, judging on character rather than on personal characteristics." 

Perry added, "Unfortunately a closer review appears to prove the opposite; and the Aggie administration and SGA owe us answers."

Front-runner McIntosh lost the election after his campaign was first accused of voter intimidation. He then failed to disclose financial information about—this part is so college—glow sticks that were used in his campaign video.

After the school's judicial court determined McIntosh should be disqualified, Brooks was then announced the winner. But Perry apparently took issue with that decision. According to our new energy secretary, Brooks only won because the university wanted to put the diversity and inclusivity of its student body on display.  

"What if McIntosh had been a minority student instead of a white male?" Perry wrote. "What if Brooks had been the candidate disqualified? Would the administration and the student body have allowed the first gay student body president to be voided for using charity glow sticks?"

The fact that Perry decided to get involved in a dispute between college kids at a university 1,400 miles from DC caught McIntosh off guard, and he told the school paper that he was ultimately "humbled" to have Perry's support. The school administration, however, said it "respectfully disagree[s] with his assessment."

"He's always been a great proponent for Texas A&M. I'm surprised that he's weighing in. I'm surprised he would have the time to do that," A&M communications officer, Amy B. Smith, told the Dallas Morning News. "There's rules here. Somebody lost and somebody won, and that's always tough, but it was just a surprise to see this."