Donald Trump stated that Rick Perry puts his “glasses on so people will think he’s smart. And it just doesn’t work! People can see through the glasses.” Logically, Trump nominated him to oversee the United States’ nuclear arsenal as Secretary of Energy.
Perry described Trump as a “cancer” that “must be clearly diagnosed, excised and discarded.” He added that Trump “offers a barking carnival act that can best be described as Trumpism: a toxic mix demagoguery and mean-spiritedness and nonsense that will lead the Republican Party to perdition if pursued.” So, naturally, a good idea to team up with him and travel down that road to perdition.
No, this isn’t satire. Trump actually nominated Perry to become the Secretary of the Energy Department. As a presidential candidate, Perry infamously couldn’t remember that he wanted to eliminate the department but when he recalled it, confidently insisted it should be abolished. Now that he has been nominated to lead it, he asked for a do-over (“Oops,” he did it again!), testifying in front of Congress that he wasn’t fully aware of the role of the department, including the fact that it oversees our nuclear arsenal.
Is learning about the role of the Energy Department classified? Does it require top-secret security clearance? No. Google “U.S. Energy Department” and click on the “ABOUT ENERGY.GOV” tab on the homepage. But who has time for reading when you can be a decider? He just wanted to president!
While knowledge and experience are the new passé and being a rich, white male nationalist who denies climate change and pathologically lies is trending like a 1983 Cabbage Patch Kid, the nation may wish to reconsider its interest in getting blown up or swept away in a storm. Perhaps a not smart person who makes rash judgements isn’t the best pick for this slot?
Dr. Ernest Moniz, the former Energy Secretary under President Obama, is a nuclear physicist (Spoiler alert: Rick Perry is not). He previously worked in the Physics Department at MIT. He has an extensive background working in science and the energy industry.
Conversely, Rick Perry has a bachelor’s in Animal Science and worked as a book salesman prior to entering politics. Sadly (for us), the books were not about ensuring the integrity and safety of the nation’s nuclear weapons, advancing nuclear nonproliferation and promoting international nuclear safety. My experience as a child that required me to turn off my bedroom light or pay a 10 cent fine better prepared me for this position.
This mind-numbing pick continues a disturbing pattern of selecting people to run departments who previously advocated to abolish them and have a legislative history that runs contrary to the mission of the departments. Further, it appears that experience isn’t a prerequisite for serving in these positions giving new meaning to the old adage that you can do anything you want in life. And if you’re white, male, rich, angry, and ruthless, you have astoundingly good odds of serving as a secretary in this administration.
The Energy Department is responsible for managing our nuclear arsenal. Perry has no background in this arena. Further, the agency sets our energy policy. Perry denies climate change (a priority of the agency is to combat its effects), opposes clean energy, received millions in donations from oil companies, and continues to promote carbon-heavy, unsustainable fossil fuels while the world moves away from them. Awesome stuff (if you’re anti-living). Having neatly coiffed hair, OK Corral swagger, and a Texas twang may be appealing to casting agents auditioning actors for a Western but not ideal for the nuclear theatre.
Perry called for the elimination of a department with 100,000 employees and contractors without even taking the time to learn its function–a grossly irresponsible decision that shows a terrible lack of judgement and due diligence. While Perry may think it would be really cool to try this gig out, it’s not a science experiment the nation can afford. He is embarrassingly unqualified for this position and must be rejected.
Please call your U.S. Senator today and ask him or her to oppose Perry’s nomination based on his lack of qualifications, views misaligned with the mission of the agency, and conflicts of interest.