Fake News Alert: Ricky Perry

So last night, the NYT ran a sensational story about how Rick Perry, Trump’s nominee for Energy Secretary, doesn’t know what the Energy Department does. According to them, he thought it mostly promoted fossil fuels or whatever and didn’t understand that much of their authority centers around regulating and maintaining our nuclear arsenal. Social media jumped all over it, liberals wrung their hands while others pointed out that this claim seems thinly sourced.

Oh, yeah … it was total bullshit:

The New York Times interpreted a quote from a former Trump transition official to mean that Rick Perry, President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of energy, didn’t fully grasp the role of the Department of Energy.

That former transition official, Michael McKenna, told The Daily Caller Wednesday that the Times misinterpreted him and Perry “of course” understood that a key role of the Department of Energy is caring for the nation’s nuclear arsenal.

In fact, you can go back to Perry’s acceptance of the nomination to find him talking about the nuclear arsenal. And, back in 2012, his campaign platform talked about closing the Department of Energy … while moving its control of the nuclear stockpile to the Department of Defense. So, yes, Rick Perry knew what the job entailed. He almost certainly knew it better than most of the people currently mocking him.

This building hysteria is becoming a problem with Trump’s cabinet nominees. I can certainly see why people don’t like some of them. I don’t like Sessions. I think Tillerson was out of his depth. And while I’m open-minded on DeVos, she badly flubbed some questions. But this is getting ridiculous. Perry at Energy is actually one of the less alarming appointments. Perry was a successful governor of Texas. His Presidential campaign floundered, I think, because he didn’t really want the job. He always crossed me as the sort of Republican I grew up with: somewhat bumbling, vaguely competent; the kind of guy who wants to get the job done as expeditiously as possible so he can get back to the golf course or his mistress (or both). Save your ammo guys. There are away more alarming people in this Administration than James Richard Perry.

We’ll see how the hearing goes, but the NYT’s report is garbage.

Comments are closed.

  1. AlexInCT

    So last night, the NYT ran a sensational story about how Rick Perry, Trump’s nominee for Energy Secretary, doesn’t know what the Energy Department does

    Does anyone know what these people do? I can tell you that short of the military (engage in kinetic exchanges cause Obama doesn’t do wars and basically waste tax payer money trying to turn into a social experiment) and the intelligence agencies (spy on Americans), I can tell you that most of the other entities are either either doing a disservice or are a mystery.

    After these last 8 years the DOJ is a hack. So are the FBI, Homeland, and State. Then you have education, agriculture, commerce, health & human services (like a bull services a cow), and housing and urban development. Other than waste money, WTF do they do?

    Thumb up 0

  2. Christopher

    Hal, by any chance can you expand on your thoughts about DeVos?  I’m an education major, so a lot of my friends really don’t like her (including at least one Donald Trump supporter).  And I’ve heard some things about her religious beliefs that concern me a bit (if they are true).

    Thumb up 0

  3. Hal_10000 *

    Sure. The big opposition to DeVos is that she is a big supporter of vouchers and school choice and is not devoted to the public school system. Given that the Detroit schools are getting per-pupil funding comparable to tuition at the University of Michigan and are <i>literally falling apart</i>, I don’t think she’s entirely wrong.  I went to public school and it was great but I came from a wealthy area of Atlanta and so had a good school.  Many kids in our public school system are trapped there.

    I’ve written several blog posts about how our public school systems can burn money.  The Newark schools got something like $100 million from Zuckerburg and it all went to waste.  I am very in favor of school choice, moderately in favor of vouchers and charters schools. And much of the opposition to DeVos crosses as me knee-jerk union hysteria that she’s not a devotee of the public school system (as Duncan was).  Charter schools have their issues but they are clearly outperforming public ones, even when they go after low-income and minority students (NYT statistical manipulations aside).

    That she has no experience in public education is not interesting.  Several SoE’s have not and the recent two that did — Paige and Duncan — were terrible.

    Does anyone know what these people do?

    Two-thirds of the DOE is devoted to managing nuclear weapons. I don’t have a problem with the federal government managing nuclear weapons.

    Thumb up 2

  4. AlexInCT

    Sure. The big opposition to DeVos is that she is a big supporter of vouchers and school choice and is not devoted to the public school system.

    She’s got my vote unless she eats kids.

    Thumb up 0

  5. AlexInCT

    Two-thirds of the DOE is devoted to managing nuclear weapons. I don’t have a problem with the federal government managing nuclear weapons.

    Neither do I, but I believe the number engaged in the nuclear side of that department is far smaller than 2/3. A considerable chunk of their budget, for example, is discretionary and I am willing to bet that a big chunk of that is spent on bullshit related to lefty wishful green crap. And I was talking about what the people in those in other departments do or don’t do primarily. Tons of waste.

    Thumb up 0

  6. stogy

    Hal, there has clearly been a learning curve – as Perry himself has said in remarks he released before his confirmation hearing:

    “My past statements made over five years ago about abolishing the Department of Energy do not reflect my current thinking,” Perry plans to say. “In fact, after being briefed on so many of the vital functions of the Department of Energy, I regret recommending its elimination.”

    What we don’t actually know is the timing of learning curve’s upswing, or when these briefings occurred, but it seems likely that many briefings occurred after rather than before his nomination – I mean, who’s going to brief someone who is not being put up for a job? So anyway, the NYT story is not complete bullshit.

    Perry has also walked back on many of his stronger climate denial statements. Was this part of a learning curve or simply political rhetoric designed to shore up his position with party supporters and political donors? Who knows?

    The NYT story also made the point that he is taking over from an MIT Nuclear Scientist – someone with much greater levels of awareness on research areas that need emphasis, and the specifics of managing a nuclear arsenal safely. Rick Perry’s experience extends only as far as commissioning a nuclear waste storage facility in Texas.

    However, there have been other non-experts who have previously run the department, so his relative lack of experience doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll do a crap job. It’s clearly a political appointment over one of expertise and interest. He’s not the sharpest knife in the draw, but then there are plenty of other blunt knives in there as well.

    Thumb up 2