Rick Perry Leaving Energy Department

Confirming earlier rumors, Rick Perry announced that he'd be leaving his position as Secretary of Energy at the end of the year.

Secretary of Energy Rick Perry will be stepping down as Secretary of Energy at the end of the year even as his name keeps coming up in connection with the Ukraine scandal at the center of the ongoing impeachment scandal:

President Donald Trump on Thursday confirmed that Energy Department Secretary Rick Perry would leave the administration by the end of this year.

“We already have his replacement,” Trump told reporters on his way to a campaign stop in Texas. “Rick has done a fantastic job. But it was time.”

The news comes after POLITICO reported earlier this month that Perry planned to step down by the end of this year. He is facing a Friday deadline to comply with congressional subpoenas seeking information on his role in the administration’s withholding military aid to Ukraine while it pushed that country’s government officials to investigate unsubstantiated allegations of wrongdoings by former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

Trump did not state who Perry’s replacement would be, saying he planned to announce it at the rally Thursday night.

DOE Deputy Secretary Dan Brouillette, a former head of public policy at the U.S. Automobile Association and executive at Ford Motor Company, is the most likely person to replace Perry at DOE, sources previously told POLITICO. Brouillette has been filling in for Perry at Cabinet meetings for the past few months, one source added. Many of Perry’s former DOE staff members — including chief of staff Brian McCormack and special assistant Luke Wallwork — have all left DOE in recent weeks, a source said.

Trump said Perry had actually indicated to him earlier this year that he planned to leave.

“Rick and I have been talking for six months,” Trump told reporters. “In fact, I thought he might go a bit sooner. But he’s got some very big plans. He’s going to be very successful. We have his successor, we’ll announce it pretty soon.”

As noted, this news doesn’t come as a surprise given the fact that multiple news outlets reported at the beginning of the month that Perry was likely to step down soon, although there was no mention of a date and at least some speculation that he might stay until after the 2020 election. It was immediately after that announcement, though, that reports began to emerge putting Perry at the center of the ongoing Ukraine scandal:

Perry’s frequent trips to Eastern Europe as pitchman for U.S. energy exports were a subject of subpoenas that House Democrats served to Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani earlier this month. That subpoena includes a demand for documents and other communications involving Perry and the former New York City mayor connected to Ukraine. A second subpoena seeks details of conversations between acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and Perry, as well as records from other current or former DOE officials.

Perry has repeatedly said that he never talked to Ukraine officials about the Bidens. But Mulvaney earlier Thursday told reporters at the White House that the administration had in fact expected a quid pro quo with the Ukraine government regarding the military aid and an investigation into the Bidens. Mulvaney later said the media has “misconstrued” his remarks.

I can’t really say I have any comments one way or the other about Perry’s performance as Energy Secretary. He didn’t generate many headlines during his time there, which is generally a good thing for a lower-level Cabinet official, and he didn’t find himself wrapped up in a scandal in the manner that some of the President’s other Cabinet appointees have. So, I guess that’s a good thing.

Perry’s silence is likely to be short-lived, though, precisely because of his involvement in the Ukraine scandal currently being investigated primarily by the House Intelligence Committee. As noted, Perry appears to have been in contact Ukranian officials on his own over the past two and a half years and several reports have shown the Administration trying to deflect blame for trying to emphasize contact with the nation at Perry’s feet. On some level, of course, Perry’s contacts in the nation aren’t surprising given that nations oil and gas supplies and importance in those international markets. At the same time, though, the fact that Perry was apparently working closely with Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani is odd to say the least and Members of Congress are likely to have some real questions about that.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Mu says:

    Makes you wonder how deep he’s involved if he’s voluntarily leaving before anything major surfaced.

  2. de stijl says:

    When a person as stupid as Governor Goodhair decides it’s time to skeddadle, a lot of second and third tier people in the WH are planning to bolt soon.

  3. de stijl says:


    The Mulvaney statement and walkback deserves a full post, imo.

  4. grumpy realist says:

    Mr. I’m-wearing-glasses-so-I-look-like-an-innalechual?


  5. Argon says:

    Maybe he should run for governor of Texas again. After all, that’s where he earned his millions. Sec. of Energy is so much harder to grift off with all those federal ‘rules’ that simply aren’t part of the Texas political system.

  6. Kathy says:

    It’s good to know he’ll have plenty of free time to testify in the Impeachment inquiry.

  7. DrDaveT says:

    Maybe he finally figured out that DOE isn’t where they keep the Red Bull…

  8. PJ says:

    Rick Perry is such a ‘low-energy’ individual, no wonder he left. Sad.

  9. Jax says:

    Who’s left as far as the original cabinet? DeVos and Carson?

  10. al Ameda says:

    Rick isn’t being thrown under the bus, he’s diving under the bus.