After a last-minute meeting on Monday, President-elect Donald Trump has chosen former Texas Gov. and Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry for Energy secretary, CBS News reported Tuesday.
Perry would take over a department that he famously advocated scrapping.
During his first run for the GOP nomination, in a 2011 debate, Perry attempted to list the three agencies he had plans to do away with. After naming the departments of Commerce and Education, he couldn’t remember the third.
Further along in the debate, a light bulb went off. “It was the Department of Energy that I was reaching for before,” Perry said.
Perry sits on the board of Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners, a subsidiary of which is responsible for building the Dakota Access pipeline.
Trump has expressed his support for the controversial pipeline, despite months-long protests and a recent Obama administration decision halting construction.
Perry announced a second run for the Republican nomination in June of 2015, only to drop out of the race by September. At first, the former governor was critical of Trump, calling the reality TV star’s campaign a “cancer on conservatism.”
He eventually endorsed Trump after initially throwing his support to fellow Texan Sen. Ted Cruz.
“He is not a perfect man,” Perry told CNN in May as it became clear that Trump would win the nomination. “But what I do believe is that he loves this country and he will surround himself with capable, experienced people and he will listen to them.”
“He wasn’t my first choice, wasn’t my second choice, but he is the people’s choice,” Perry added.
Trump had also considered West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin III for the department’s top job. The two met as recently as Monday to discuss the position.
Manchin expressed gratitude for Trump’s consideration, and vowed to work with the new administration going forward.
“I was honored that the President-elect asked me to meet with him and discuss ways we can work together and improve the lives of millions of Americans, and the hard-working people of West Virginia,” Manchin said in a statement. “I was humbled to be considered for the Secretary of Energy position.”
“I hope all Americans join me in working with President-elect Trump in a bipartisan way to bring our country together and make it successful.”