Opinion United States

(Opinion) Rick Perry: A Reminder That Trump Never Drained The Swamp

November 9, 2017: On Thursday, November 2nd, Rick Perry — the Energy Secretary of the United States — controversially claimed that somehow, electricity created by fossil fuels is needed to prevent sexual assaults in Africa.

Rick Perry speaking at a Town Hall.

The full quote, as published by the Hill, can be found below:

“But also from the standpoint of sexual assault. When the lights are on, when you have light that shines, the righteousness, if you will on those types of acts. So from the standpoint of how you really affect people’s lives, fossil fuels, is going to play a role in that. I happen to think it’s going to play a positive role.”

Though a UNHCR report published in 2012 does point out that electricity in rural communities helps lower assaults and other crimes, Perry’s statements focus solely on fossil fuels as the solution to providing them with energy.

As the Huffington Post reports, it is ridiculous to imply that burning fossil fuels is the only way to provide electricity to towns and villages in rural African communities. According to the MIT Technology Review, renewable energy is going to far outperform coal and other non-renewable energy options by 2040 worldwide, and solar energy is likely going to cost less than coal in China and India by 2021. Renewable energy is in no way off the table.

According to Carbon Brief, another report published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) says that the whole continent could be powered entirely by renewable energy by 2030. 

If you’ve payed attention to any of Perry’s past career exploits, it shouldn’t really be a surprise that the man has ignored all of the facts mentioned above.

Rick Perry has sued the EPA countless times for greenhouse gas regulation; forgotten the name of the agency he is now in charge of during a presidential debate (where he vowed to abolish it); and also said a whole host of things that all received a “Pants on Fire!” rating from Politifact.

(All demonstrably untrue, some shorter quotes have been added below):

“The U.S. unemployment rate has “been massaged, it’s been doctored.”

“Abortion is the second-most conducted surgical procedure in this country.”

“The federal government has not engaged in (border security) at all.”

“The first round of stimulus … it created zero jobs.”

In 2011, he didn’t even remember the name of the department he so fought so vehemently to abolish, causing massive controversy. Now, he’s in charge of it. Rick Perry is clearly unqualified to lead the government agency. Just take a look at him stumbling over himself during this presidential debate.

It’s important to remember that the Energy Department also has another directive: the safe handling of nuclear materials and weapons. Thanks to the Trump administration, Rick Perry oversees the storage, maintenance and deployment capabilities of over 4,000 nuclear weapons.

If that wasn’t enough, watch this video from the Associated Press in 2014, highlighting improper handling of nuclear weapons under President Obama.

It would be anything but a surprise if Perry’s administration were to be responsible for a nuclear incident. After all, Donald Trump advocated for nuclear proliferation on the campaign trail, which means more nukes and less oversight. What could go wrong?

The Associated Press: Inside Aging American Nuke Base

Despite the fact that Perry hardly managed to obtain an undergraduate degree in animal science at Texas A&M — his college transcript was riddled with C’s and D’s, and one F — Donald Trump decided to appoint him. Why?

A simple answer is that Perry is a corrupt politician whose beliefs and career choices are dictated by who pays for them. In the case of his appointment this past winter, Perry was likely the perfect person to appoint. He was a person that Trump and his advisors knew they could control.

The evidence is plentiful.

From Newsweek, “Perry’s campaigns were financed, in part, by $17,115,865 in campaign contributions from 921 political appointees or their spouses, according to the non-profit Texans for Public Justice.” Over the course of his political career, Perry has accepted over $1.6 million in donations from the Oil and Gas industries, shaping his policies to benefit their business interests.

He is easily bribed. He was beholden to the industry interests in his state while he was governor, and that’s only been amplified now that he’s the Secretary of Energy. The only reason Perry is the successor of a nuclear physicist is because Perry has a single, attractive trait: he will do whatever the administration wants, a trait commonly shared amongst Trump’s cabinet.

When Donald Trump ran for the presidency, he campaigned on “draining the swamp” and shaking up Washington to promote change. Unfortunately, Perry’s most recent statements act as a reminder that Trump never began doing anything like that. Instead, Trump’s administration consists largely of Goldman Sachs executives, they tried to take healthcare from 22 million Americans, and they also quietly gutted internet privacy rules, to name a few things. The take-away?

Donald Trump has fallen in line with the corrupt system that gave birth to “the swamp,” just like everyone else. The Washington establishment he railed against during the campaign is still just as prevalent as it used to be.

It’s just dumber.

By Dermot O'Halloran

Student at the University of Toronto. Very political, focused on policy substance and important issues. Freelance writer when not practicing saxophone.

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