Trump Blames Energy Secretary Rick Perry For Ukraine Call
President Donald Trump claimed on Friday that Energy Secretary Rick Perry urged him to make the infamous July 25 phone call to Ukraine’s president that is now the focus of House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.
“Not a lot of people know this but, I didn’t even want to make the call. The only reason I made the call was because Rick asked me to,” Trump told House Republicans, according to Axios. “Something about an LNG [liquified natural gas] plant.”
Many pundits said they believe Trump’s comments are yet another example of him attempting to shift the blame for one of his scandals to someone else.
“When Donald Trump is in a jam, he instinctively looks for a few things,” writes MSNBC’s Steve Benen. “First, the president looks for allies who’ll defend him without regard for his culpability. Second, he looks for fixers who’ll help make the problem go away. And third, he looks for a fall guy.”
According to NBC News, Department of Energy Press Secretary Shaylyn Hynes did not deny that Perry suggested Trump speak to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“Secretary Perry absolutely supported and encouraged the President to speak to the new President of Ukraine to discuss matters related to their energy security and economic development,” Hynes told NBC News. “He continues to believe that there is significant need for improved regional energy security, which additional options for natural gas supply will provide.”
Last week, Perry met with several European energy leaders, including Ukraine’s, to discuss issues related to natural gas. Perry was not mentioned in the full transcript of Trump’s call with Zelensky, which the White House released last month. However, Democratic lawmakers have reportedly been questioning the energy secretary over a separate issue: Perry led a U.S. delegation to Ukraine for Zelensky’s inauguration in May, a responsibility that has typically been held by Vice President Mike Pence.