West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin will support former Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s confirmation as Secretary of Energy, making it nearly impossible for his Democratic colleagues to block Trump’s nominee.
“Governor Rick Perry is uniquely qualified for this position and I will support his nomination as Secretary of the Department of Energy,” Manchin said in a statement released before he introduced Perry to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
“I have worked with Governor Perry many times while I was Governor of West Virginia and I am proud to call him a friend,” Manchin said. “I know first-hand the challenges Governors face and I have seen Governor Perry address difficult issues with resourcefulness and dignity.”
To block Perry, Senate Democrats would need to convince three Republicans to join their ranks, an unlikely event, especially since Manchin’s revelation.
President-elect Donald Trump’s decision to nominate Perry to head up the Department of Energy was sharply criticized by environmentalists and media outlets. Many reporters quipped that Perry would head the agency “he once forgot” — referencing a 2012 presidential debate where Perry couldn’t name a third federal agency he would eliminate.
Perry now says he “regrets” calling for the department to be eliminated.
“My past statements made over five years ago about abolishing the Department of Energy do not reflect my current thinking,” Perry will tell Senators at his confirmation hearing Thursday, according to his prepared testimony.
“In fact, after being briefed on so many of the vital functions of the Department of Energy, I regret recommending its elimination,” he will say.
The New York Times went after Perry for apparently not understanding that he would be in charge of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. NYT’s headline read: “‘Learning Curve’ as Rick Perry Pursues a Job He Initially Misunderstood.”
That’s a big charge — and one that turned out to be completely false, The Daily Caller News Foundation discovered. The claim that Perry was unaware of the “nuclear” implications of his new role, was based on a quote by former Trump transition official Michael McKenna, and not anything concrete.
“After meeting with him last week and talking about his vision for the future of the Department of Energy and what role he can play in helping West Virginia, I am confident he has the knowledge and experience needed to lead the Department of Energy,” Manchin said. “I look forward to introducing him to my colleagues and to a successful confirmation hearing.”
Trump reportedly considered Manchin for Energy Secretary in December.
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