Ahhh, to forgive is divine!
After trading the most vitriolic insults of the battle for the Republican presidential nomination, one-time bitter political rivals Donald Trump and Rick Perry finally decided to bury the hatchet somewhere besides in each other.
The result: Trump's recent announcement he will pick Perry to head the federal department Perry had promised to close, but whose name he famously couldn't recall in a 2011 presidential debate.
(“Let me tell you, it’s three agencies that are gone when I get there. Commerce, Education, and the um, what’s the third one there?” Perry fumbled.
(“The third agency I would do away with…the…ahh…Education…ahh…Commerce, and, let’s see,” looking down at his podium, “I can’t, the third one. I can’t. Sorry. Oops.”
(Later in the debate, he remembered the third: Energy.)
Some twists and turns on the road to Perry's appointment:
Back in July of 2015, a month after Trump, the billionaire reality show host, got into the race, Perry tweeted that Trumpism is "not conservatism but a toxic mix of demagoguery and nonsense."
Trump, infamous for his twitter warfare, and inability to resist responding to anything he considers a criticism or insult, tweeted that Perry "just gave a pollster quote on me. He doesn't understand what the word demagoguery means."
He then charged that the former Texas governor "failed on the border. He should be forced to take an IQ test before being allowed to enter the GOP debate."
Five days later, on July 22, 2015, with Trump leading in the polls, Perry decided to fire all his cannons.
In remarks to the Opportunity and Freedom PAC forum in Washington, D.C., Perry delivered a blistering critique of Trump.
“He is without substance when one scratches below the surface. He offers a barking carnival act that can be best described as Trumpism: A toxic mix of demagoguery and mean-spiritedness and nonsense that will lead the Republican Party to perdition if pursued,” Perry said.
“Let no one be mistaken — Donald Trump’s candidacy is a cancer on conservatism, and it must be clearly diagnosed, excised and discarded.”
Perry's hard-edged criticism turned out not to be the kill shot he'd hoped for, and had little effect on the race. Within weeks, he found himself out of money.
So he quit the race, on Sept. 11, 2015 – four months sooner than he had done in the 2012 presidential election cycle. On Jan. 25, 2016, Perry endorsed Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz.
But after Cruz lost Indiana to Trump, Cruz quit on May 3, 2016. Three days later, Perry endorsed Trump, and actively campaigned for him.
It's doubtful Perry's efforts on Trump's behalf had all that much effect on the outcome of the November election – certainly not as much as FBI Director James Comey's on-again, off-again investigations of the emails of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State.
But it gave Perry a chance to demonstrate his fealty to Trump, and Perry openly campaigned for a spot in Trump's administration. That Trump chose Energy seems almost poetic.
Perry's view on global warming is as skeptical as Trump's, and his approach to energy has been "all of the above," rather than a conscious effort to shift toward renewable energy from fossil fuels.
Environmental critics slam him for endorsing additional coal-fired power plants and open season for oil and gas drilling. They criticize him for sitting on the board of Energy Transfer Partners, whose projects include the Dakota Access Pipeline staunchly opposed by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.
But they do give him credit for allowing construction of billions of dollars worth of transmission lines that helped make Texas the leading state in both wind and solar energy.
And now, a little over a year after Perry deemed Trump a "cancer on conservatism" and Trump essentially indicated Perry was stupid, these guys have nothing but nice stuff to say about each other.
"As the governor of Texas," Trump said in a statement, "Rick Perry created a business climate that produced millions of new jobs and lower energy prices in his state, and he will bring that same approach to our entire country as secretary of energy."
Perry was no less glowing about Trump.
"It is a tremendous honor to be selected to serve as secretary of energy by President-elect Trump," Perry said in his own statement. "I am deeply humbled by his trust in me."
Trump pledged to "take advantage of our huge natural resource deposits to make America energy-independent and create vast new wealth for our nation, and Rick Perry is going to do an amazing job as the leader of that process."
Let there be sweetness and light.
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