Outgoing Texas Gov. Rick Perry shrugged off wealth inequality, saying the Bible showed poverty could never be eliminated.
“Biblically, the poor are always going to be with us in some form or fashion,” Perry told the Washington Post.
The newspaper reported that Perry, who is under indictment for alleged abuse of power, began intensive media training this week in preparation for a possible second campaign for president.
His first campaign was marked by bumbling appearances in presidential debates, and experts from think tanks have visited Austin to grill him on a variety of topics.
In addition to hostile mock interviews, Perry has been working with speech coaches from a Republican firm run by a former actor with the Royal Shakespeare Company.
The governor discussed income inequality and economic mobility this week, and he cited the Bible to explain the unavailability of social services in Texas despite strong job growth.
“We don’t grapple with (wealth inequality) here,” Perry said.
However, Texas has the fifth-highest level of income inequality in the U.S., according to economist Mark Frank.
The top 1 percent of earners took in 21 percent of the state’s total income in 2011, Salon reported, and the top 10 percent accounted for half of Texas’ income.