Maybe Rick Perry has a future as a White House press secretary.
The secretary of energy delivered a rambling, 30-plus-minute White House press briefing as part of “Energy Week” Tuesday that seemed to entertain and amuse reporters who were crowded there waiting for news on the delayed health care bill vote.
The former Texas governor touched on, among other topics, climate change, fracking, coal, and. . . the French?
When a reporter asked about President Donald Trump potentially visiting France to negotiate on the Paris accord, the former Texas governor responded, “I would always look at an invitation to a party as a good thing.”
A different reporter asked about nuclear power, which led Perry on a rant about the French in general.
“I would deflect that, if he were here, to President Macron of France, who gets 70-plus percent of their power from nuclear energy,” Perry began, before his answer took a turn.
“Now, this was the country that wouldn’t buy Texas beef, for some reason, yet 76 percent of their energy comes from nuclear power,” Perry said. “So the French — who I’ve always thought were a little bit, you know, different,” he said, raising his eyebrows and eliciting laughter, “and that’s in a good way — you know, they recognized us as a state back in the 1830s, so we actually have a really close personal relationship with the French. We like them. We had an embassy in Paris; they had one in Austin. . . but the French are a little different when it comes to some things, and one of those, and I would find it really interesting, that our French friends are very comfortable getting 76 percent of their energy from nuclear.”
After the question, deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders came to stand next to Perry, seeming to try to signal that he was due to wrap up.
But that didn’t stop Perry for calling on a reporter for “one last question,” which happened to be about states’ rights — sending him on a tangent about marijuana in Colorado, greeting California Governor Jerry Brown in China, and why Perry ultimately decided to serve in Trump’s cabinet.
“I said many times that I thought that Colorado was wrong in allowing for the use of marijuana, which they’ve decided to do, but that’s their call. I will defend that right robustly,” Perry started. “I mean, Jerry Brown, we were together in China — Beijing — for the Clean Energy Ministerial. We saw each other shook hands as we were going by. Jerry’s decided he wants his state to be involved with the Paris agreement, however that works, which is fine, that’s his call. Texas will still be there to take any businesses that would like to relocate.
“And that’s the beauty in all of this,” Perry continued. “Allow America to be competitive. Allow Americans to pick and choose where they want to live, under what types of governments, and we’ll figure it out. But this idea that we’re going to have one size fits all out of Washington, D.C. — one of the reasons I came to serve with President Trump was because I knew he believed in that, and he believes in competition. And the future of America is brighter because we have a president who believes in American exceptionalism, America competition, and making America great again.
“Thank you,” Perry concluded, leaving the podium as reporters could be heard calling, “Please come back!”
“I don’t think anyone will question whether or not Secretary Perry is a high energy guy,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders noted dryly as she took the podium from Perry.
Many expressed their unbridled enthusiasm with the way Perry’s briefing unfolded.
Personal opinion here.... Rick Perry should always be on-camera.— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) June 27, 2017
Rick Perry, perhaps having not received the memo about how the press is treated in this room, tells a reporter his question is "astute."— Olivia Nuzzi (@Olivianuzzi) June 27, 2017