President Donald Trump confirmed Thursday, Oct. 17 to reporters in Fort Worth, Texas that Former Governor of Texas and current Energy Secretary Rick Perry (R-TX) will be retiring from his cabinet position by the end of November.
Despite Perry calling then-candidate Trump “a cancer of conservatism” in the 2016 election when both candidates works to gain the Republican party’s nomination, Trump chose Perry to run the Energy Department, the same department Perry had previously vowed to “shut down” if elected President.
As head of the Department of Energy, Perry has been criticized for his efforts to help the struggling coal industry and his plans to provide new government subsidies for coal and nuclear power plants had been rejected by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
As Energy Secretary, Perry has repeatedly questioned the science behind climate change, despite his home state of Texas being the largest wind energy producer in the country. Additionally, as Energy Secretary, Perry overlooks 17 national laboratories and the safety of the country’s nuclear weapons.
“Rick has done a fantastic job, but it was time, ” said Trump following the announcement of Perry’s upcoming departure. Trump continued in stating that Perrys departure comes as no surprise, as “He’s got some very big plans.”
Perry’s resignation comes amid the Ukraine investigation and impeachment inquiry into Trump. Perry, whose travels to Ukraine have caught the eye of Congressional Democrats, has reportedly been planning his departure from the Trump Administration for several months.
Trump has reportedly blamed Perry for the now infamous call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in which the President initiated a “quid pro quo” deal with Ukraine in exchange for an investigation into political rival and Democratic Presidential Candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.
Perry states he wished for Trump and Zelenskiy to strengthen energy business relations between the two countries.
“As God is my witness, not once was a Biden name—not the former vice president, not his son—ever mentioned,” said Perry to the Christian Broadcasting Network when speaking on his potential involvement in the Biden issue.
Congressional Democrats issued Perry a subpoena on Oct. 10 following the emergence of Perry’s name in the appendix of the whistleblower complaint which launched the Impeachment inquiry into Trump
As of now, no evidence has emerged that Perry was directly involved in Trump’s pressing of Zelenskiy into the investigation of the Bidens. Sen,. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) has sent a letter to Perry requesting information pertaining to his interactions and activities surrounding the Ukraine investigation.
“President Trump’s phone call and the allegations in the whistleblower complaint raise serious about the messages that were communicated on behalf of President Trump to the government of Ukraine,” said Mendezl, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
The redacted whistleblower complaint released by the White House mentions Perry’s attendance of the inauguration of President Zelenskiy. Perry states he led the United States delegation there in May, following Trump telling Vice President Mike Pence to not attend.