Rick Perry Tapped To Run Department He Once Vowed To Nix

Perry famously forgot the name of the Department of Energy during a 2011 presidential debate. Oops.

President-elect Donald Trump has tapped former Texas Gov. Rick Perry to head the Department of Energy.

“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 released Wednesday.

Perry was reportedly chosen over Ray Washburne, an energy investor and top fundraiser for Trump’s campaign, and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who were rumored to be other contenders for the post. CBS and NBC first reported the news, both citing transition process sources.

Perry after meeting with Trump on Monday.
Perry after meeting with Trump on Monday.
KENA BETANCUR via Getty Images

The former Republican presidential candidate met with Trump on Monday after Trump transition sources said he was a leading contender for Energy secretary. He had reportedly been under consideration for other administration posts as well, and had already met with Trump last month.

The department that Perry will lead was one that he famously forgot to name during a GOP presidential primary debate in 2011. Perry listed off federal agencies he hoped to eliminate if he were elected president.

“The third agency of government I would do away with – the Education, the Commerce. And let’s see. I can’t. The third one, I can’t,” Perry said. “Oops.”

Later, he clarified that he meant to name the Department of Energy.

Perry, who also briefly pursued a 2016 presidential run, serves on the board of directors of Energy Transfer Partners, the company involved with the controversial Dakota Access pipeline. Last month, environmental groups successfully pressured federal authorities to halt the pipeline’s construction. However, Trump, who has owned shares in the company, said that he would push for the pipeline’s completion.

Like many Republicans who have warmed to Trump since his election, Perry was once a strong critic of the president-elect. In 2015, he called Trump a “cancer on conservatism” and, even after endorsing him in May, continued to cast doubt on him.

“He wasn’t my first choice, wasn’t my second choice, but he is the people’s choice,” he said in May.

Perry also spoke at the Republican National Convention in July but did not mention Trump in his brief remarks. At the time, his website still contained a page titled “Defending Conservatism Against the Cancer of Trump-ism.”

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