Politics & Government

Rick Perry tapped to be energy secretary under Donald Trump, reports say

Former Texas governor Rick Perry was named to Donald Trump’s Cabinet as energy secretary on Monday night, according to multiple reports.

Fox News Sunday and CBS first reported the news via Twitter late Monday.

“I think Perry is an absolutely logical appointee,” said Jim Riddlesperger, a Texas Christian University professor and Texas politics expert. “He’s the longest-serving governor in Texas history and has a lot of experience.”

The Trump transition team did not confirm the reports.

“There hasn’t been any announcement yet,” Trump spokesman Jason Miller said on a phone call with reporters Tuesday morning. “As soon as we have something we will put it out.”

In 2011, Perry forgot to name the Department of Energy as one of three executive agencies he would cut if elected president.

In 2016, Perry was tapped to lead the same agency.

The Department of Energy oversees the nation’s nuclear program, energy research and more physical science research than any other federal agency.

Perry is a conventional choice for a Cabinet post and would bring executive experience to the White House. The former governor who served from 2000 to 2015 is well-liked in Texas despite two failed presidential runs and a lackluster performance on “Dancing with the Stars.”

“He has a lot of experience in ag policy,” Riddlesperger said. “Perry is famous as governor for running Texas Enterprise Fund, which made him a little unpopular in some of the other states for luring jobs to his state. It gives him the gravitas you might want.”

Perry’s political career runs the gamut in Texas. He started as a Democratic state Rep. in 1984, even endorsing Al Gore’s presidential bid in 1988 before becoming a Republican in 1989.

In 1990, Perry successfully won statewide office as agriculture commissioner and parlayed a successful reelection in 1994 to become lieutenant governor in 1998.

Upon the resignation of George W. Bush to become president, Perry assumed the governor’s mansion in 2000 and went on to amass the 10th longest gubernatorial tenure in U.S. history.

Perry ran for president in 2012 and 2016, buoyed by big-money super PACs, but his first bid fell flat after his infamous “oops” remark in a primary debate and his second never gained much traction.

After dropping out in 2016, Perry supported Texas Sen. Ted Cruz before switching his allegiance to Trump.

Riddlesperger said Perry would likely withstand the Senate’s confirmation process because he’d had his life scrutinized while serving as governor and running for president.

Perry visited Trump Tower in recent weeks, but did not speak to reporters or ABC’s Erin Andrews about his meeting after a performance with Vanilla Ice.

Anita Kumar and Vera Bergengruen contributed to this report

Alex Daugherty: 202-383-6049, @alextdaugherty

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