(New York, NY) — It’s a “Lone Star” state of mind at Trump Tower today (well, except when Kanye West briefly stole the limelight).

The comings and goings at President-elect Donald Trump’s “transition headquarters” on Manhattan’s frigid 5th Ave. have featured several big Texas political players. However, none of those contenders have been given the “you’re hired” treatment, until now. Sources close to the incoming Republican president say he’s chosen former Texas Governor Rick Perry to head the Department of Energy. All together now: That’s the one he famously forgot the name of when he was listing agencies of federal government he would eliminate during a 2011 Republican presidential debate. Then, early this morning, multiple reports of Trump’s pick for Secretary of State were confirmed by the campaign. The President-elect intends to offer the gig to Exxon Mobile CEO and Texan, Rex Tillerson. Tillerson’s dealings with the Kremlin in Russia have some on Capitol Hill a bit concerned, by the way. Max Gorden has more on that controversy here.

The oil king from Wichita Falls trumped contenders like former New York Mayor and Trump loyalist Rudy Giuliani and former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Romney, according to Roger Stone, was considered by Trump as a form of torture. Trump’s camp called Tillerson among the most accomplished business leaders and international dealmakers in the world. And according to Trump, Tillerson’s experience as the chief of one of the world’s largest companies gives him a deep understanding of geopolitics, making him an excellent choice for Secretary of State.

While some of his colleagues in Washington are crying foul over the pick, U.S. Senator John Cornyn applauded Trump’s intent to nominate Tillerson for Sect. of State. Texas’ Senior Republican Senator and
the U.S. Senate Majority Whip said he’s long valued Tillerson’s insight and is looking forward to supporting his nomination.

“Rex Tillerson’s successful tenure leading a large multinational corporation reflects a keen ability to navigate complex geopolitical issues across the globe,” Sen. Cornyn said. “His experience will be critical as the next Secretary of State will face a broad array of diplomatic challenges that will define the security and success of our nation for generations. A lifelong Texan, I’ve long valued Rex’s insight and look forward to supporting his nomination.” – Sen. John Cornyn, (R) Texas

Texas’ Junior Senator, Ted Cruz, is also chiming in on the pick. He called for a “full” and “fair” Senate confirmation hearing for Tillerson.

“Rex Tillerson is a Texan who has had an incredible career building one of the world’s largest businesses. With deep expertise in energy, he has negotiated business deals across the globe. I look forward to a full and fair confirmation hearing where Tillerson can describe his record in detail, and lay out his vision for supporting our allies, confronting our enemies, and advancing U.S. interests worldwide.” – Sen. Ted Cruz, (R) Texas

Meanwhile, the choice for Rick Perry for Energy Secretary hasn’t been made official by the Trump campaign.

But multiple media outlets reported late Monday evening sources close to the transition confirmed Perry is Trump’s pick.  Some are calling it ironic because, early in the election, Perry called Trump’s candidacy a, “cancer on conservatism.” He later was one of the first to get on board the Trump train after it was clear he would get the nomination.

As head of the post, Perry, who was Texas’ governor for 14 years, would likely move the Department of Energy away from renewables and toward oil and other fossil fuels; resources he touted during his time as governor. He’s a been a vocal skeptic on climate change, well before he had eyes on the White House.

But under his leadership, Texas did become a leader in producing wind-powered energy. Supporters have long championed his ability to make the state a frontrunner in oil and natural gas production, as well as renewable energy.

Democrats and environmentalists have expressed their concern about the choice.

“It is deeply unsettling that our current secretary of energy, a renowned nuclear physicist, could be succeeded by a contestant on ‘Dancing with the Stars'” Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey, the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, told the Associated Press. “Governor Perry is simply not qualified for this position and should be rejected.”

And the Texas Democratic Party has been quick to weigh in on the Perry nod. They said Texans are still suffering from the former governor’s failed policies.


“What better way to destroy our energy future than to put the guy that wanted to eliminate the department in charge of it. America can’t afford another Rick Perry ‘oops’ moment. Across our state, Texans are still suffering from Perry’s failed policies and the Republican culture of corruption he instituted across government. Frankly, Texas Republican Rick Perry has struggled to remain relevant after two embarrassing presidential campaigns, a horrendous track record as governor, and a cringe worthy appearance on Dancing with the Stars.” – Manny Garcia, Texas Democratic Party Executive Director


The Chair of Texas’ Republican Party is praising both Tillerson and Perry as picks for their respective cabinets on President-elect Trump’s Administration. Chairman Tom Mechler said the nominations will “shake-up” Washington and “change” the status quo.

“President-elect Trump has made some excellent additions to his cabinet by nominating Rex Tillerson as his Secretary of State and former Governor Rick Perry as his Energy Secretary. These selections will shake-up Washington and change the status quo, which is exactly why the American people elected Donald Trump to serve as our next President. There is no one more qualified to restore order to our dysfunctional federal government than a Texan, and we’re confident that both of these Texans will help Make America Great Again.” – Tom Mechler, Texas Republican Party Chairman

We’ll continue to monitor this latest news from the Trump transition team. Tonight at 7 on Capital Tonight, reporter LeAnn Wallace will have more reaction to Gov. Perry’s nomination. Our political analysts will also weigh in on the Texas picks. Capital Tonight airs on Spectrum News, which you can watch on Channels 8 and 200 if you are a Spectrum subscriber.