Speaking in Texas during a tour of a Louis Vuitton factory (and yes, you read that correctly), Donald Trump on Thursday said he’ll name a replacement for Rick Perry “very shortly”.
The next Energy secretary will be a man, Trump remarked, adding that Perry will exit by the end of the year.
Rick earlier notified Trump of his intention to step down. His departure had been expected, and although media reports have variously suggested his plans to leave the administration predate the Ukraine inquiry, Perry is now at the center of the scandal thanks to his role in pushing Trump’s agenda in Kyiv.
Over the past two weeks, Democrats have zeroed in on Perry, who stood in for Mike Pence at the inauguration for Ukraine’s President Zelensky, whose July call with Trump is at the heart of the impeachment probe.
Last week, media reports detailed a purported scheme involving a cabal of Republican businessmen who allegedly touted their ties to Trump and Giuliani while attempting to orchestrate a management shakeup at Naftogaz, Ukraine’s state gas company.
Perry, Gordon Sondland (who told House investigators a lot about Rudy Giuliani on Thursday) and Kurt Volker, reportedly took to calling themselves “the three amigos” over the summer after they were handed control of Ukraine policy by Mick Mulvaney.
Speaking of Mick, he’s in all kinds of hot water after stating, very explicitly, that one of the main reasons behind the Trump administration’s decision to delay a nearly $400 million aid package to Ukraine was a desire to secure a commitment that the country would investigate Democrats. Here’s what Mulvaney said in a statement on Thursday evening:
Let me be clear, there was absolutely no quid pro quo between Ukrainian military aid and any investigation into the 2016 election. The president never told me to withhold any money until the Ukrainians did anything related to the server. The only reasons we were holding the money was because of concern about lack of support from other nations and concerns over corruption.
This is one time when telling the public not to believe their eyes and ears probably won’t work. Mulvaney was simply too adamant and too explicit to try and walk it back.
Here is what Mick is trying to clean up:
Again, you can’t put lipstick on that pig. Mick said what he said.
Trump’s lawyer, Jay Sekulow, wants nothing to do with this public boondoggle. “The president’s legal counsel was not involved in Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney’s press briefing”, Sekulow insisted on Thursday.
Prior to hearing Mulvaney’s exceedingly unfortunate soundbite, Republican Lisa Murkowski said this: “You don’t hold up foreign aid that we had previously appropriated for a political initiative. Period”.
But you do if you’re Mick Mulvaney!
As Mick himself put it on Thursday: “Get over it”.