In a speech ahead of the 2016 Republican presidential contest in which both men would compete, the former Texas governor framed Trump as an unchecked demagogue and chose a striking historical image to illustrate his point: A mob attack on Washington.
Perry described an 1854 assault on the nation’s capital in which members of the nativist Know-Nothing movement accosted a guard and destroyed slabs of marble that were meant to complete the Washington Monument. Their goal was to thwart an imagined conspiracy about the Pope taking over the government.
“These people built nothing, created nothing. They existed to cast blame and tear down certain institutions. To give outlet to anger,” Perry said. “Donald Trump is the modern-day incarnation of the Know-Nothing movement.”
Trump, of course, was elected president that year and Perry would serve as energy secretary in his administration.