White House and Republican officials are eyeing Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.VA) as the candidate to take the Energy Department spot and moving Rick Perry, current Energy Secretary, over to Homeland Security.
Some White House and Republican officials are exploring the idea of putting West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin in charge of the Energy Department, according to four people familiar with the discussions, a move that could boost President Donald Trump’s stalled legislative agenda.
If Manchin were offered and accepted the position, that would allow West Virginia’s Governor Jim Justice — a newly minted Republican — to appoint a GOP successor and bring the party a vote closer in the Senate to being able to repeal Obamacare. The idea is in the early stages of consideration, and it’s unclear whether it has support within the administration, according to the people, who described the conversations under condition of anonymity.
A spokesman for Manchin declined to say whether the senator would take the Energy secretary job — currently held by former Texas Governor Rick Perry — if offered.
“Senator Manchin has not had any recent conversations with the Administration about the Secretary of Energy position. He remains committed to serving the people of West Virginia,” said Jonathan Kott.
Manchin, who faces a tough re-election battle in 2018, was considered for the post after Trump won election in November. His nomination fell through in part because Trump wouldn’t assure him he could pick his own staff, according to two people familiar with the staff selections, who described them on condition of anonymity.
Perry was named Energy Secretary instead, and it’s unclear whether he would be open to taking another position in the administration. He has been among the candidates considered to replace John Kelly at the Department of Homeland Security, according to three people familiar with the deliberations. Kelly, who became White House chief of staff last week, and Trump haven’t yet decided who should succeed him as Homeland Security secretary.