The race to become Donald Trump’s energy secretary has now narrowed to three people — Ray Washburne, Joe Manchin and Rick Perry.
The Daily Caller has learned that Trump is expected to make a decision on the subject Monday afternoon and plans to announce the pick Tuesday.
Washburne — a Dallas-based investor who owns pipeline, refinery maintenance, and well-drilling companies — has emerged as a Trump favorite for the job, a transition insider told The Daily Caller.
Energy infrastructure will be a big push for Trump, the source explained, and Washburne has the experience to handle it. (RELATED: A Cowboy, A CEO, And A Senator Who Prays For Rain Top List For Trump’s Agriculture Secretary)
Washburne is said to be a favorite of Steve Bannon, a top Trump advisor. He’s had meetings on the subject with Trump, Bannon, Donald Trump, Jr., and Jared Kushner — Trump’s son-in-law. Washburne has also privately met with Ivanka Trump about the role.
Meanwhile, incoming White House chief of staff Reince Priebus is pushing for Trump to appoint Sen. Joe Manchin as energy secretary.
Priebus is hoping the Republican Party can capture the Democratic senator’s seat in West Virginia.
That would happen by either convincing the state’s Democratic governor to appoint a Republican to finish the two years left in Manchin’s term, or by winning the seat outright in 2018. Although Trump won 67.9 percent of the state’s vote, it’s not clear what leverage Priebus would have to convince Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to appoint a Republican.
Manchin is scheduled to meet with Trump at 10 a.m. on Monday morning.
Some reports Sunday suggested that Perry is an energy frontrunner, but Trump officials are tempted to hire him instead to run the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The Texas governor met with Trump several weeks ago, and he told the transition team that he wanted to run the Defense Department “or nothing.” That request was “dismissed out of hand,” the Trump source told TheDC. That’s when the team first offered Perry the chance to lead the VA. Perry turned it down.
Now Perry, who told Trump Saturday that he wants the energy secretary job, is scheduled to meet with the president-elect on Monday afternoon. The team is once again expected to offer Perry the VA gig, TheDC has learned.
Perry, the source says, is the one guy who lacks a proponent within the campaign. (RELATED: Rick Perry’s Ties To Dakota Pipeline Could Hurt Bid For Trump Cabinet)
And he’s reportedly considered a “confirmation nightmare” by some Trump insiders who point to his role on the board of Energy Transfer Partners. The company’s pipeline is at the center of a highly publicized dispute with Native Americans in North Dakota, who say that the project would cut through burial grounds.
Both Perry and Washburne were spotted with Trump yesterday at the Army-Navy Game in Baltimore.