Even with an impressive track record, Rick Perry had serious hurdles to overcome. The most daunting being the expected questioning of his intention to eliminate the Department of Energy during his presidential campaign in 2012, along with the Department of Commerce, and the Department of Education.
“My past statements made over 5 years ago about abolishing the Department of Energy do not reflect my current thinking. In fact, after being briefed on so many vital functions of the DOE, I regret recommending its elimination,” said Rick in his opening statement.
In the following three hours of being questioned by the committee, he was never questioned on his statements regarding the department.
Shortly after, the committee focused on the real issue that everyone wanted to discuss. That is the vital role the department plays in relations with Russia.
Senator Cantwell began her testimony with “we are getting hacked by the Russians.” She was referring to the conspiracy of Russia hacking the 2016 election, and making Hillary Clinton lose. She asked Rick Perry to “make the commitment to pick up the mantle and defend our nation against Russian attacks.”
Seeing Russia being spared from further criticism, Senator Barrasso added that “Putin uses energy as a weapon, a geopolitical weapon.”
Rick Perry responded by saying “We have the technology to stop the cyber snooping, or for that matter, the intentions to do harm to Americans by penetrating into our electric grids.”
With the main concern addressed, the hearing soon concluded. The committee, in ranking order, reassured Rick Perry of their support, and advised sharing his newfound knowledge.
“We’re counting on you to educate the incoming president,” concluded Senator Hirono.