Rick Perry: Fossil Fuels Can Prevent Sexual Assault

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Energy Secretary Rick Perry, a man with deep, well-documented ties to the oil industry, offered up an innovative use for fossil fuels you may not have previously considered: preventing sexual assault.


During a policy discussion on Thursday morning with Meet the Press’s Chuck Todd and Axios CEO Jim VandeHei, Perry talked about a recent trip to Africa, where he recounted a young girl telling him how she reads by the light of a fire with toxic fumes.

“But also from the standpoint of sexual assault,” Perry continued. “When the lights are on, when you have light that shines, the righteousness, if you will, on those types of acts.”

Boy oh boy is there a lot to unpack there, beginning with the obvious fact that suggesting sexual assaults could be stopped if people just flipped on a few lights once in awhile is insanely insulting and totally nonsensical. Perry, an avowed Bible thumper, also seems a little confused about the difference between literal and metaphorical “light” here.

The throwaway line becomes even more sinister when you consider that this effort to tie good old fossil fuels to an issue people are very interested in of late—awareness and prevention of sexual assault—is coming from a man who’s gotten rich with Big Oil and who was still sitting on the boards of two major oil industry companies when he was nominated to lead the Department of Energy.