WASHINGTON — Energy Secretary Rick Perry said in an interview that he told President Donald Trump that he was God’s “chosen one” to lead the United States, just as he chose the kings to lead Israel in the Old Testament.
Perry, who will be leaving the Cabinet on Sunday, explained that nothing in the universe is accidental and that God “is still very active in the details of the day-to-day lives of government.”
“Barack Obama didn’t get to be the president of the United States without being ordained by God. Neither did Donald Trump,” he said in a Fox News interview that aired Sunday, adding that God has used “individuals who aren’t perfect all through history.”
“King David wasn’t perfect. Saul wasn’t perfect. Solomon wasn’t perfect. And I actually gave the president a little one-pager on those Old Testament kings about a month ago,” Perry said.
“Donald Trump’s not perfect,” he said. But Perry believes the Christians in the president’s Cabinet, such as himself, have “been able to make a difference in his life.”
“And I hope I’ve been a bit of a minister, if you will, a person who’s been able to share my faith with the president,” Perry said.
The former governor said he told Trump that some people “said you were the chosen one.”
“And I said, ‘You were.'”
“‘You didn’t get here without God’s blessing,'” he said he told Trump, telling him to read the pamphlet on the Old Testament kings. “And I said, ‘I just need you. I want you to look at this. I want you to read it. I want you to, you know, absorb that you are here at this chosen time because God ordained it.'”
Perry said he also cautioned Trump, “Don’t get confused here, sir. This is not a reflection that you’re perfect, but that God’s using you. And he uses all of us that way.”
Perry echoed the sentiments of many Evangelical leaders who have embraced Trump despite his alleged ethical lapses. Many of the president’s Christian supporters say Trump has atoned by embracing the Christian faith and that forgiveness is a key part of their religion. And like Perry, they believe God could be using an imperfect vessel to carry out his will.
Franklin Graham, son of the legendary preacher Billy Graham, has been one of Trump’s most ardent Evangelical defenders. Last week, Graham compared Trump’s political foes to “demonic forces.”
Perry has been one of the longest-serving members of Trump’s Cabinet, and his tenure had been scandal-free. But, his name has surfaced in the House-led impeachment inquiry into allegations that Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden. U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland last week named Perry as one of the officials working with Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani to carry out the president’s wishes.
Perry has not complied with a subpoena to testify after the White House counsel’s office said high-level administration officials would not participate in what the administration considers an illegitimate process.
In the interview, Perry said his work in Ukraine was focused on battling corruption and natural gas policy.
“Not once was the name Burisma or the Bidens mentioned to me, not by the president, not by Rudy Giuliani and not by Gordon Sondland,” Perry said. Biden’s son Hunter Biden served on the board of Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian natural gas company.
“And if there’s anyone saying anything different, then they’re surmising, and that’s not a wise thing to do. I know what I saw. I know what I heard,” Perry said.
As a Republican primary candidate in the 2012 presidential race, Perry called for the elimination of three federal agencies, including the Department of Energy (which he famously forgot on the debate stage). In hindsight, Perry admits calling for the department’s closure had been a mistake.
“I got here and I found that this was the most fascinating, most capable, and, I think, most important agency of government,” Perry said. “Wisdom is knowing when you’ve made a mistake and admitting it.”