Rick Perry, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for energy secretary, said Thursday that he regretted calling for the dismantling of the department he is set to head if he gets confirmed.
Perry, the former Texas governor, told the Senate Energy Committee in prepared remarks that his past comments did not reflect his current thinking.
“After being briefed on so many of the vital functions of the Department of Energy, I regret recommending its elimination,” he said in his remarks.
Perry was a critic of the Energy Department when he ran for president in 2012 and memorably forgot its name during a presidential debate while listing government agencies he would eliminate.
Perry also acknowledged his past statements on climate change in his prepared remarks.
“I believe the climate is changing. I believe some of it is naturally occurring, but some of it is also caused by manmade activity,” he said in his remarks. “The question is how do we address it in a thoughtful way that doesn’t compromise economic growth, the affordability of energy, or American jobs.”
Perry has previously said climate change is “phony.”
Chris Sanchez contributed to this report.