Politics & Government

Rex Tillerson and Rick Perry are on the brink of serving in Donald Trump’s Cabinet

An elevator door closes as former Texas Gov. Rick Perry arrives at Trump Tower, Monday, Nov. 21, 2016 in New York. Perry is reportedly the front-runner for energy secretary.
An elevator door closes as former Texas Gov. Rick Perry arrives at Trump Tower, Monday, Nov. 21, 2016 in New York. Perry is reportedly the front-runner for energy secretary. AP

After weeks of Texans being shut out of Donald Trump’s Cabinet, the president-elect is closing on naming an oil executive and the state’s longest-serving governor to two high-profile positions.

On Tuesday morning, Trump is expected to choose ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as secretary of state and multiple reports surfaced on Monday night that Trump is expected to name former governor Rick Perry as energy secretary.

Fox News Sunday and CBS first reported Perry’s nomination, although the Washington Post reported that Trump hasn’t made a final decision and Perry is merely the frontrunner for the energy gig.

Tillerson as secretary of state was first reported Saturday by NBC News.

On Monday, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Dallas-based former U.S. Rep. Allen West and former presidential candidate and Texas-born Carly Fiorina all met with Trump in New York.

Gov. Rick Perry on voter fraud after Donald Trump discussed it in the third presidential debate.

Perry, who has been the subject of multiple Cabinet rumors in recent weeks, is now considered the front-runner for energy secretary, according to multiple reports. The Energy Department is the agency Perry forgot to name during a 2011 presidential debate as one of three federal agencies he would eliminate if president. The gaffe contributed to his failure to win the 2012 Republican nomination.

“It’s three agencies of government when I get there that are gone: commerce, education, and the uh ... what’s the third one, there? Let’s see... The third one. I can’t,” Perry said, adding “Oops.”

The longest-serving governor in Texas history has met with Trump at least three times during the transition process, including over the weekend at the Army-Navy football game in Baltimore.

West, a former U.S. Rep. from Florida who is now the head of a conservative Dallas-based think-tank, has met with Trump multiple times amid speculation he is under consideration for a national security-related post.

On Monday, West told reporters he does not see the need for a congressional inquiry into Russia’s hacking before the November election.

“We need to focus on what’s most important – what’s happening with Syria right now,” West said to reporters when asked about the Russian cyber attacks. “Aleppo is about to fall.”

West is a hero of the tea party movement who enjoys a large social media presence, and over the weekend he posted a meme suggesting that Trump’s secretary of defense pick wants to “exterminate” Muslims.

“Fired by Obama to please the Muslims, hired by Trump to exterminate them,” the meme said.

A West staffer took responsibility for posting the meme.

The third Texan to meet with Trump on Monday was Fiorina, an Austin-born former presidential candidate who was Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s running mate during the final days of his ill-fated presidential campaign.

The New York Times reported that Fiorina is under consideration for director of national intelligence.

Fiorina said her meeting with Trump was “productive” but did not respond to shouted questions after addressing the press in the Trump Tower lobby.

“We talked about hacking, whether it’s Chinese hacking or reported Russian hacking,” Fiorina said. “We talked about the opportunity that the president-elect has to literally reset things, to reset the trajectory of this economy, to reset the role of government, to reset America’s role in the world and how we’re perceived in the world. And I think it’s why he’s getting such fantastic people in his administration.”

Ray Washburne, a Dallas-based investor and a Trump fundraiser during the campaign, was also spotted at Trump Tower on Monday. Washburne is part of the transition team but is also under consideration for a Cabinet position.

Alex Daugherty: 202-383-6049, @alextdaugherty