Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry did not realize exactly what the position of energy secretary entails when he accepted Donald Trump’s offer to lead the department, the New York Times reported Wednesday evening.
Perry was prepared to represent the American energy sector abroad and did not understand that he would be charged with overseeing the United States’ nuclear arsenal, according to the New York Times.
“If you asked him on that first day he said yes, he would have said, ‘I want to be an advocate for energy,’” Michael McKenna, a Republican lobbyist who has advised Perry’s campaign and Trump’s transition team, told the New York Times. “If you asked him now, he’d say, ‘I’m serious about the challenges facing the nuclear complex.’ It’s been a learning curve.”
During his 2012 presidential run, Perry called for the elimination of the Energy Department. The former Texas governor, if confirmed, will be charged with managing the agency’s $30 billion, two thirds of which is devoted to maintaining nuclear weapons and avoiding nuclear proliferation, according to the New York Times.