Marjorie Kamys Cotera / Texas Tribune
President-elect Donald Trump has officially selected former Gov. Rick Perry, a rival turned loyalist, to lead the U.S. Department of Energy.
Trump formalized the appointment in a statement early Wednesday morning, two days after reports surfaced that he had settled on Perry to be his energy secretary.
“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,” Trump said in a statement. “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, and Rick Perry is going to do an amazing job as the leader of that process.”
The two Texans tasked with confirming Perry, U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, gave glowing praise to their former governor early Wednesday morning.
“I’m thrilled with the President-elect’s decision to bring a proven Texas leader like Governor Perry into his Administration,” Cornyn said in a statement. “A good friend, proud veteran, and dedicated public servant, I look forward to supporting Governor Perry’s nomination.”
“Gov. Perry will make a terrific Secretary of Energy…His executive experience across diverse policy areas makes him qualified to run just about any federal agency,” Cruz concurred in a statement. “I enthusiastically support his nomination as Secretary of Energy.”
If confirmed by the Senate, Perry will oversee American energy policy and its consequences for the economy, environment and national security. His experience running Texas, a state rife with natural resources, would come in handy.
Perry would also helm the department whose name he infamously forgot during a 2011 presidential debate while listing the three federal departments he wanted to eliminate. On Tuesday, Trump aides expressed little concern about the irony of the potential appointment, saying Trump’s Cabinet members will carry out his agenda, not theirs.
Perry is the second Texan that Trump has tapped for his Cabinet. Trump announced Tuesday he will nominate Rex Tillerson, CEO of Irving-based Exxon Mobil, for secretary of state.
Perry met with Trump on Monday in New York, his second trip to the billionaire’s namesake tower since the election. The former governor kept a relatively low profile during the process, entering and leaving without speaking to reporters.
Things weren’t always friendly between Perry and Trump. During his own 2016 presidential run, Perry harshly criticized Trump as a “cancer on conservatism” but quickly got behind him when he became the presumptive GOP nominee.
Abby Livingston contributed to this report.
Read related Tribune coverage:
- Here’s a closer look at the energy legacy of the state’s longest-serving governor.
- Trump passed over U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas for U.S. attorney general, opting instead for U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama.
Disclosure: Exxon Mobil has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.