Donald Trump’s cabinet pick for Secretary of Energy, former Texas Governor, Rick Perry, was super into his chewing gum during the Inauguration on Friday. Videos of Perry trying to blow a big bubble with his gum, specifically throughout Rabbi Marvin Hier’s Benediction portion of the service, have been floating around the internet all weekend.
Even The New Yorker cited the incident in a full summary of the ceremony, wherein journalist Benjamin Wallace-Wells observed that:
During the benediction, the Energy Secretary-designate, Rick Perry, blew chewing gum bubbles while his eyes were closed in prayer.
The ordeal with him and his bubble gum wasn’t the only blunder Perry made this past Friday: he also made an accidental sexual innuendo in Senator Al Franken’s direction. Of a mishap that occurred during Perry’s confirmation hearing with the Senate Energy and National Resources Committee on the same day, political reporters from The Daily Mail noted that:
Franken said: ‘Thank you so much for coming into my office. Did you enjoy meeting me?’
When Perry responded, ‘I hope you’re as much fun on that dais as you were on your couch’, Franken looked down, uttered a confused, ‘Well…’ and furrowed his brows.
Perry realized the sexual innuendo and said ‘May I rephrase that, sir?’, to which Franken issued an empathetic: ‘Please!’
You may remember Rick Perry from his unsuccessful stints running for president in 2012, and, more recently, in the 2016 race against Trump himself. Before he dropped out of this past election, he referred to Trump’s candidacy as “a cancer on conservatism”. In a piece for MSNBC, reporter Adam Howard cited Perry himself, who, in July of 2015 voiced his personal opinions of Trump when he said:
He is without substance when one scratches below the surface. He offers a barking carnival act that can be best described as Trumpism: a toxic mix of demagoguery and mean-spiritedness and nonsense that will lead the Republican Party to perdition if pursued. Let no one be mistaken – Donald Trump’s candidacy is a cancer on conservatism, and it must be clearly diagnosed, excised, and discarded.
Even more ironic still, given his recent designation for the position of Energy Secretary, are the missteps Perry has made in the past. At a Republican debate during his first candidacy for president, back in 2011, Rick spoke of the federal agencies he wished to eliminate. He stumbled, as he, for several minutes, kept forgetting the name of the third agency he hoped to get rid of, before remembering, that it was, in fact, the energy department. In an article for CBS written immediately following the 2011 mishap, Kevin Hechtkopf wrote:
Perry was discussing his jobs plan and his flat tax plan when he said: “And I will tell you, it is three agencies of government when I get there that are gone. Commerce, Education, and the… what’s the third one there? Let’s see.”
Perry then paused and there was audible laughter in the room. Texas Rep. Ron Paul then chimed in “You need five,” to which Perry responded “Oh five, OK. So Commerce, Education, and the…” Romney then suggested “EPA?” to which Perry responded, “EPA, there you go, no…” with laughter from the candidate and the audience.
Moderator John Hardwood from CNBC then asked, “Seriously, is the EPA the one you were talking about?”
“No, sir, no, sir. We were talking about the agencies of government- the EPA needs to be rebuilt. There’s no doubt about that,” Perry responded.
“But you can’t name the third one?” Hardwood asked.
“The third agency of government I would, I would go away with, the Education, the…Commerce and, let’s see,” Perry said, as his brain freeze continued.
Finally, Perry gave up, saying: “I can’t. The third one, I can’t. Sorry. Oops.”
However, a few minutes later in the debate, Perry remembered that the third department was the Energy Department. “By the way that was the Department of Energy I was reaching for a while ago,” he said with a chuckle when he was asked another question.
Recently, Perry has attempted to change his tune in the media, so as to appear a more legitimate fit for his new role, but as with many past discrepancies featured prominently across the news, it seems these kerfuffles will be tough to forgive and even more difficult to forget.