Rick Perry in Lithuania: "I'm here", not planning to resign

Secretary of Energy Rick Perry is in Lithuania. During a news conference he tamped down speculation about possible plans to resign by the end of the year.

“No. I’m here, I’m serving,” he said when asked about the Politico report from Thursday night while at a news conference in Lithuania.

“They’ve been writing the story for at least nine months now. One of these days they will probably get it right, but it’s not today, it’s not tomorrow, it’s not next month,” he reportedly added.

This is just the latest update to the story that Democrats on Capitol Hill are trying to include Secretary Perry in the hearings on President Trump’s telephone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky. House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings issued a subpoena last week and Perry was included.

As happens, the drama escalated when speculation began that Rick Perry plans to resign next month, or by the end of the year. Politico claimed to have three sources saying that Perry will resign. It continued as “sources” told Axios that President Trump called Zelensky at Perry’s request.

Perry’s spokeswoman denied his plans to resign to Politico.

“While the Beltway media has breathlessly reported on rumors of Secretary Perry’s departure for months, he is still the Secretary of Energy and a proud member of President Trump’s Cabinet. One day the media will be right. Today is not that day,” DOE spokesperson Shaylyn Hynes said.

Meanwhile, Perry is traveling in Europe and continues in his capacity as the energy secretary. Lithuania, Latvia, and Iceland are on his itinerary as he participates in a series of events with leaders and officials from Central and Eastern Europe, as well as the Baltic States. In Lithuania Sunday, he participated in the Partnership for Transatlantic Energy Cooperation (P-TEC), a regional initiative consisting of 23 Central and Eastern European nations recently formed by the Secretary in March.

As a memo from the Department of Energy states, Perry followed up with a joint press conference with Minister of Energy Vaiciunas and European Commission Director-General for Energy Jorgensen. This is when he was asked about his resignation.

Secretary Perry will also convene a U.S.-Poland-Ukraine trilateral following up on the recent Memorandum of Cooperation signed in Warsaw last month to develop enhanced interconnections between Poland and Ukraine, as well as hold a dialogue with representatives of Moldova, Romania, and Ukraine to advance cooperation on ensuring the energy security of Moldova. Finally, the Secretary will host a joint press conference with Minister of EnergyŽygimantas Vaičiūnas and European Commission Director-General for Energy Ditte Juul Jørgensen.

The rest of the week is detailed, too, in the memo:

Latvia: On Tuesday, October 8, Secretary Perry will arrive in Riga, Latvia where he will deliver the keynote address at the EuroGas Central and Eastern Europe Conference to discuss energy security through energy diversity.

Iceland: On Thursday, October 10, the Secretary will arrive in Reykjavik, Iceland to host a U.S. Industry Roundtable to engage with local industry stakeholders and deliver the keynote address at the Arctic Circle Assembly where he will discuss the economic and energy potential of the Arctic region.

So, while Secretary Perry is overseas, making inroads into energy deals with the Arctic region, the press is busy asking if he’s going to be around for a while.

“The United States finds itself in a relatively new and unique position of being able to be a major importer, particularly of liquefied natural gas into Europe,” he told journalists in Vilnius after meeting with the Baltic counterparts.

“We hope that all the citizens of Europe recognize that we certainly look at this as a great opportunity to bring more freedom to the marketplace, more competition to the marketplace,” he added.

Perry also cited figures from the International Atomic Energy Agency, showing that the supply of US gas helped Europe save 8 billion US dollars last year.

Lithuania has also imported LNG from the United States via its terminal in Klaipėda.

It’s important for the U.S. to be a partner with European countries and the Baltic states in order to ease dependence on Russia for their energy needs. That should be the focus of stories coming out of Perry’s travels this week.

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