Energy Secretary Rick Perry confirmed on Monday President Donald Trump’s reported claim that he had asked the President to make the call to the Ukrainian president in July.
During a press conference in Lithuania, Perry told a reporter he “absolutely” asked Trump to call President Volodymyr Zelensky to inquire about how his government was handling corruption.
Perry said it was important to make sure Ukraine was successfully combating corruption in order for him and the U.S. to find “energy experts” who could invest in Ukraine’s oil and gas resources.
“I asked the President multiple times, ‘Mr. President, we think it is in the United States and in Ukraine’s best interests that you and the president of Ukraine have conversations, that you discuss the options that are there,'” the Energy secretary said. “So absolutely yes.”
Perry’s comments largely echo the Energy Department’s statement on Sunday, which stated that Perry “absolutely supported and encouraged the President to speak to the new President of Ukraine to discuss matters related to their energy security and economic development.”
Axios reported on Sunday that Trump had passed the buck to Perry, claiming that he “didn’t even want to make the call.”
“The only reason I made the call was because Rick asked me to,” he reportedly told House Republicans.
On Monday, Perry also denied reports of his impending resignation.
“I’m here, I’m serving,” Perry said.
“They’ve been writing the story for at least nine months now,” he continued. “One of these days they will probably get it right, but it’s not today, it’s not tomorrow, it’s not next month.”
Watch Perry below: