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Manchin Offers Support for Trump's Energy Pick

Carolyn Kaster
AP Photo

West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin was enthusiastic in his support of President-elect Donald Trump's pick to lead the U.S. Department of Energy. During his Senate confirmation hearing today on Capitol Hill, Rick Perry said his views of the agency have changed.

Former-Gov. Rick Perry’s confirmation hearing was held before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Sen. Manchin, a Democrat, threw his support behind the Republican nominee in his introduction. Manchin was also briefly considered for the post.

"I have no doubt that Rick is not only going to do the job, he’s going to excel in the job," Manchin said. "That is evident by Rick’s achievements in diversifying Texas’s energy portfolio, which is remarkable as the number one producer of crude oil and natural gas in the nation."

In a 2011 bid for the Republican presidential nomination, Perry said the Department of Energy should no longer exist. But during his confirmation hearing to lead that very department, Perry said he will now be an advocate for its work.

"My past 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 vital functions of the Department of Energy, I regret recommending its elimination."

Perry’s says if confirmed, he hopes to lead the Department of Energy in a “thoughtful manner” surrounded by “expertise on the core functions of the department.”

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