Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry is apparently back in the mix to join the Trump Cabinet. BloombergPolitics reported Sunday that the two-time candidate for the Republican nomination for president had emerged as the leading candidate to lead the Energy Department.
According to BloombergPolitics, Perry met with President-elect Donald Trump at the Army-Navy football game in Baltimore Saturday, along with Ray Washburne, a Dallas investor and former national finance chairman for the Republican National Committee, who was the vice chairman of the Trump Victory fundraising committee. According to the report, Washburne is also a contender to be energy secretary.
BloombergPolitics reported that two Democratic senators from energy-producing states — Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota — were also on Trump’s short list for the energy post.
Perry met with Trump in New York at Trump Tower on Nov. 21 to talk about a potential role in the administration, but there had been little, if any, buzz about his chances until this weekend.
Perry was harshly critical of Trump when they were rivals for the 2016 nomination, but has been an enthusiastic booster since Trump clinched the nomination last spring.
If he were to be named energy secretary, it would be doubly ironic. The Energy Department was one of three federal agencies that Perry, as a candidate for the 2012 GOP nomination, promised to eliminate. It was his failure at a Republican presidential debate to recall the Energy Department as the third agency he wanted to eliminate that led to the embarrassing “oops” moment that helped doom his campaign and forever tarnished his image.
Perry serves on the board of Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners, a pipeline company headed by Kelcy Warren, the finance chairman of his 2016 presidential campaign. As CEO and chairman of Energy Transfer Partners, Warren has faced criticism over the company’s Dakota Access pipeline project, which has drawn opposition from environmentalists in North Dakota.
To date, Trump has not named any Texans to his Cabinet, but the Perry talk comes amid reports that Trump had settled on Rex Tillerson of Irving, the chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil, as his choice for secretary of state.
However, the apparent choice of Tillerson, who has a very close relationship with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, may be threatened amid the blowback to reports that Putin and the Russians had meddled in the presidential election on Trump’s behalf.
On Sunday, the president-elect tweeted, “Whether I choose him or not for ‘State’ — Rex Tillerson the Chairman & CEO of ExxonMobil, is a world class player and dealmaker. Stay tuned!”
If both Tillerson and Perry ultimately become part of the Trump Cabinet, Texas will suddenly find two favorite sons vaulted into critical roles in the administration, as will the Boy Scouts of America. Both Tillerson and Perry are Eagle Scouts who have remained devoted to the BSA throughout their lives.