Trump’s Latest Excuse: Rick Perry Made Me Do It

Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Pool (Getty Images)

This might be Donald Trump’s most comedic excuse yet for betraying his oath of office as president of the United States.

We all knew Trump couldn’t withstand the heat of an impeachment inquiry by Congress without throwing someone under the bus. In fact, he’s already blurted out the vice president’s involvement, practically ensuring that lawmakers take a hard look at Mike Pence.

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But it also appears that just a day after Energy Secretary Rick Perry tried to tiptoe out the back door, Trump threw a proverbial ax at the center of his back. Unfortunately, no one feels the least bit sorry about any of this, true or not.

Three sources told Politico on Thursday that Perry was expected to resign from the Trump administration by the end of November. This news followed reports that Democrats are seeking information from Perry about his travels to Ukraine last May to attend President Volodymyr Zelensky’s inauguration.

According to a whistleblower complaint that prompted the impeachment inquiry of Trump, Pence was supposed to have attended Zelensky’s inauguration. But around the time of the trip, it was “made clear” that Trump didn’t want to interact with Zelensky until he saw how the Ukrainian president “chose to act” in office, according to a letter Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Bob Menendez sent Perry as part of the investigation.

So, Perry made the trip and conducted high-level meetings with Ukrainian officials instead.

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Now, Axios is reporting that Trump claimed on Friday that he didn’t even want to have the phone conversation with Zelensky. This is the call at the center of the whistleblower complaint that Trump continuously characterizes as “perfect.” Trump only made the call because Perry had urged him to, the president claimed.

According to the news site, Trump made this claim during a conference call with Republican members of the House. Three sources who were on the call told Axios that Trump had blamed Perry.

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Axios noted:

  • Per the sources, Trump rattled off the same things he has been saying publicly — that his call with Zelensky was “perfect” and he did nothing wrong.
  • But he then threw Perry into the mix and said something to the effect of: “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. Something about an LNG [liquified natural gas] plant,” one source said, recalling the president’s comments. 2 other sources confirmed the first source’s recollection.
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As Axios pointed out, several text messages made public this week seem to indicate that the president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, is largely responsible for advocating for that phone call, not Perry.

On Friday’s call with Trump were House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Whip Steve Scalise, Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney, and other GOP leaders, according to Axios. We’ll see what they say on Sunday.

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Or...maybe not.

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