He didn’t resign under fire for making sweetheart apartment deals with lobbyists, engaging in dodgy real estate development plans or racking up more than $1 million in taxpayer-funded flights. So by those standards, Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s tenure as a member of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet could count as a relative success.
Perry leaves office Sunday receiving generally high marks from both Republicans and Democrats for his nearly three years of running the Energy Department — an agency whose name he famously forgot during his “oops” moment in a 2011 presidential debate. But he is also leaving under a cloud as one of the “Three Amigos” whose intervention in Ukraine’s energy politics led to the House impeachment probe of Trump.
As secretary, Perry eagerly served as DOE’s top booster, praising its scientific prowess and reassuring lawmakers that he would follow their spending instructions rather than push the White House’s proposed budget slashing. At the same time, he had a spotty record at best in pursuing the “energy abundance” agenda that Trump appointed him to champion, including several failed stabs at reviving the coal industry.