Speed Reads

a convenient change of heart

Rick Perry says he regrets suggesting the Department of Energy should be abolished

Former Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas), President-elect Donald Trump's pick for energy secretary, started his Senate confirmation hearing Thursday by backtracking his past recommendation to abolish the department he is now poised to lead. "My statements made over five years ago about abolishing the Department of Energy do not reflect my current thinking," Perry said. "In fact, after being briefed on so many of the functions of the Department of Energy, I regret recommending its elimination."

Perry also indicated he's changed his mind on climate change. "I believe the climate is changing. I believe some of it is naturally occurring but some of it is caused by man-made activity," Perry said. In a 2011 presidential debate, Perry argued that the science on whether humans contributed to climate change is "not settled," and later, in 2012, claimed scientists "have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling into their projects." He now says he will protect climate scientists "from anyone who would attack them."