Trump Says Perry Will Bring Texas Success Story to Washington

President-elect officially announces former rival as secretary of Energy

Former Texas Gov. and Energy secretary nominee Rick Perry, right, talks with retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, President-elect Donald Trump's choice for national security adviser, right, and Michael Cohen, special counsel to Trump on Monday at Trump Tower. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Donald Trump’s transition team announced early Wednesday morning that the president-elect intends to nominate former Texas Gov. Rick Perry to head the Department of Energy.

The announcement came after days of speculation and reports that Perry had the job locked up.

“It is a tremendous honor to be selected to serve as Secretary of Energy by President-elect Trump,” Perry said. “I am deeply humbled by his trust in me.”

Trump touted Perry’s executive experience bonafides, and Texas’ reputation as an important energy-producing state to back up his decision.

“As the Governor of Texas, Rick Perry created created a business climate that produced millions of new jobs and lower energy prices in his state, and he will bring that same approach to our entire country as Secretary of Energy,” the president-elect said in a statement.

Perry, the longest serving governor in Texas history, and a two-time candidate for president, comes to the Department of Energy after previously vowing to eliminate the department altogether.

During his first presidential campaign in 2011, Perry had a major “oops” moment in his first Republican primary debate when he couldn’t remember the name of the final cabinet-level department he planned on cutting.

Later in the evening, Perry recalled the third. “It was the Department of Energy that I was reaching for before,” Perry said.

Perry sits on the board of the Texas-based company, Energy Transfer Partners, a subsidiary of which is responsible for the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline.

Trump is a proponent of completing the pipeline, despite protesters fears’ the route could compromise the water resources and cultural sites of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. 

Trump alluded to his and Perry’s shared views on extracting natural resources. 

“My administration is going to make sure we take advantage of our huge natural resource deposits to make America energy independent and create vast new wealth for our nation,” Trump said, “and Rick Perry is going to do an amazing job as the leader of that process.”

Perry, like his new boss, is also skeptical that human behavior affects climate change. Instead, Perry worries emissions regulations could handicap the economy.

When defending the Keystone XL oil pipeline in 2014, Perry said “I don’t believe that we have the settled science by any sense of the imagination to stop that kind of economic opportunity,” adding, “I’m not a scientist.”

During his second presidential run in 2015, Perry was an initial critic of Trump, calling his campaign a “cancer on conservatism.”

“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.

As energy secretary, Perry will also oversee the maintenance and modernization of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

“I look forward to engaging in a conversation about the development, stewardship and regulation of our energy resources, safeguarding our nuclear arsenal, and promoting an American energy policy that creates jobs and puts America first,” Perry said Wednesday.

After completing his third term as governor in 2015, Perry briefly competed on the television show “Dancing with the Stars.”

West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin III was also considered for the job.

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