SAN ANTONIO (AP) — A longtime advisor to Gov. Rick Perry says he was joking when he pulled out a pocketknife while being told he was fired as deputy chancellor of the Texas A&M University System.

Jay Kimbrough said Thursday he “can’t imagine” that A&M attorneys felt threatened by the gesture. The 64-year-old was later escorted off campus in what A&M says is standard procedure for fired employees.

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Kimbrough said his firing Wednesday came as a complete surprise, and that he didn’t appreciate the university sending plain-clothes officers to order him to leave.

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Kimbrough has carved a niche as Perry’s clean-up man for troubled state agencies and is his former chief of staff. He served as interim chancellor of A&M before John Sharp was given the post permanently this month.

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