>> It's three agencies of government, when I get there, that are gone. Commerce, education, and the, what's the third one there?>>
That would be the energy department. Rick Perry may soon be running the place under Donald Trump. Even if the former Texas governor and White House hopeful couldn't recall it's name in that famous debate meltdown.
>> The third one I can't. Sorry.>>
Oops.>> I'm Andy Sullivan in Washington where sources are telling us that Trump wants Perry at Energy despite or perhaps because of his doubts about the agency's core mission. Perry backs fewer restrictions on oil and gas drilling and has called the science behind climate change a hoax.
He would oversee a department that's been central to Barack Obama's green energy push. Dolling out billions of dollars in federal seed money for things like electric cars, solar panels, wind turbines. Republicans see all that as a waste of money, they want to scale it way back. At Energy Perry would also have responsibility over maintaining and upgrading the country's aging nuclear weapons arsenal.
With the Perry pick, we're seeing a pattern of Trump nominating people who've been critical of the departments they would head. Trump nominating formal rival Ben Carson for Housing and Urban Development. Though the retired neurosurgeon says subsidized housing creates dependency. Billionaire Betsy DeVos tapped to head the Education Department.
She's a leading advocate for taking money out of the traditional public school system for alternatives such as charter schools. And at the Environmental Protection Agency, Trump wants Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt. Who has made a name for himself suing the EPA to try to loosen restraints on greenhouse gas emissions.
Perry joining other nominees with close ties to oil and gas, Exxon Mobile CEO Rex Tillerson would head the state department. Meanwhile, Trump's transition officials already targeting the energy department asking for a list of employees who have worked on climate change. Energy department officials telling Reuters they will not honor that request.