WASHINGTON, D.C. - Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke rode to work on his first day on the job Wednesday on Tonto, an Irish sport horse.
Not to be outdone, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, while waiting to be sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence as the Trump administration’s new secretary of energy, told a White House pool reporter Thursday he would commute to work the next day “on a single-stage rocket.”
“What could go wrong?” Perry said to Oliver Knox, chief Washington correspondent for Yahoo News, before assuring Knox that his actual plan was to “quietly drive over and go to work.”
Knox reported that Perry took the oath Thursday with his hand on the Bible — “Jimmy Swaggart Reference Edition” — that had been signed by every person he ever swore in as Texas governor, and that he used it for every oath he himself took. Perry noted Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett’s autograph, assigning him the nickname, “Mister Twitter champion.” Perry said he planned to have Pence sign the Bible.
Perry’s wife, Anita, held the Bible during the swearing-in.
Perry, with fortuitous timing, was sworn in as the 14th U.S. Energy Secretary, 181 years to the day after Texas (“the country,” quipped Perry) declared its independence.
“President Trump called you to this role, to serve as the 14th secretary of energy because of who you are, because of what you’ve done, and because of what both of us and the people who know you well, know you will do to lead the Department of Energy to even greater heights,” Pence said.
Perry praised Trump for making Pence his running mate.
“This is about our country. And we collectively understand that the opportunity that we have been given, this may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Mr. Vice President, to truly put America on a course that will deliver for future generations extraordinary opportunities,” Perry said.
Perry recounted a conversation with Trump, who looked across his desk at Perry, telling him, “Here’s what I want you to do. I want you to do for American energy what you did for Texas.”