AUSTIN (KXAN) — Rex Tillerson isn’t the only Texas native being tapped for Donald Trump’s Cabinet. The Associated Press is reporting that former Texas Governor Rick Perry has been picked for the head of the Energy Department.
Perry was extremely critical of Trump during the primaries; even calling Trump himself a “barking carnival act.” However, as it became clearer that Trump would likely win the Republican nomination, Perry backed off from his criticism and said he would be open to helping.
Trump’s pick to name Perry as the head of the Energy Department is controversial because this means Perry would run the department he promised to get rid of in 2011, during his first run for president. In fact, it was the agency he “forgot” when listing three agencies he would get rid of during a debate in 2011.
“I would do away with the education, the uh (commerce)… commerce, and let’s see… I can’t. The third one, I can’t. Oops,” said Perry.
Perry currently sits on the corporate board for Energy Transfer partners, the parent company behind the highly protested Dakota access pipeline. The Obama administration recently stopped construction to look into alternate routes for the pipeline to avoid cutting off water to a Native American reservation. Over the weekend, Trump, who supports the pipeline, said if this issue isn’t resolved by his inauguration, he would intervene.
None of the candidates for Energy Secretary picked by Trump have a scientific background, including Perry. Under Obama, the two energy secretaries are nuclear physicist Ernest Moniz and Nobel Prize winner in physics Steven Chu.
The Secretary of Energy works on energy education and developing technologies for energy efficiency.
The Democratic National Committee Director Adam Hodge released this statement about Perry being picked:
“Rick Perry said that the Energy Department should be eliminated. Rick Perry forgot that he wanted to eliminate the Energy Department. Rick Perry released an energy plan some dubbed a ”wish list for the oil and gas industry” and he is currently serving on the boards of energy companies behind the Dakota Access Pipeline. Rick Perry has made loud and clear that he’s a climate change denier and doesn’t think that the federal government should ensure that every American has access to clear air, land, or water.”