In Washington, President Trump revealed that US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry will leave his post before the end of the year. In recent weeks, Secretary Perry had been subpoenaed by the US House of Representatives investigating US-Ukrainian ties. Deputy Secretary Dan Brouillette, who has been subbing for Secretary Perry at several high-profile events, is widely expected to succeed as Secretary. No changes in US energy policy are expected with the move.
“Rick and I have been talking for six months. In fact, I thought he might go a bit sooner,” Trump said at a Texas event. “He’s got some very big plans. He’s going to be very successful. We have his successor. We’ll announce it pretty soon.”
Brouillette was Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs in the U.S. Department of Energy from 2001 to 2003 under President George W. Bush, and was deeply involved in the development of the US energy loan guarantee program, introduced in the 2005 Energy Policy Act. Brouillette also served as staff director for the US House of Representatives Energy & Commerce Committee from 2003 to 2004, and served from 2013 to 2106 on the Louisiana’s State Mineral and Energy Board from 2013 to 2016, before joining the Trump Administration in 2017.
Digesterati had begun to wonder in recent weeks if “his departure was imminent” when reports of “one of his closest personal aides suddenly pull[ing] up stakes a couple weeks ago and mov[ing] back to TX.” began to circulate. In Washington circles, that is often taken as a sign that “the big dawg is clearing the decks and preparing to move”.
Perry’s departure places more pressure on the Energy Department in terms of providing leadership at the political appointee level, where ties between Departments and the White House are best maintained.
As Digesterati commented, “one thing outsiders don’t understand” [about the Trump White House] is that it has “far fewer politicals than previous Presidents”.
The impact on operations is felt by observers to be “substantial”, and becomes tougher to address. “It just keeps getting harder to find quality people” as a Presidency runs its course, “especially in the second term”.