/ Cluelessness

This Just In: Rick Perry Says Fossil Fuels Prevent Rape.

Judging from his latest jaw-dropper, the Secretary of Energy isn’t the brightest bulb in the chandelier.


Rick Perry is (in)famous for his inability to remember which three federal departments he would eliminate if elected. This was back in 2011, during a GOP presidential primary debate.

“It’s three agencies of government, when I get there, that are gone – Commerce, Education and the, um, what’s the third one there? Let’s see. The third agency of of government I would do away with – the education, uh, the, uh, commerce and let’s see. I can’t – the third one. Sorry. Oops.”

The missing third was the Department of Energy – which, in an irony that even The Onion couldn’t create, Perry now runs under Donald Trump. In that capacity he recently blurted out a jaw-dropper about natural resources and sexual assault.

The Secretary of Energy made this comment at a discussion about energy policy, hosted by AXIOS founder and Politico co-founder Jim VandeHei and Chuck Todd of “Meet The Press.” A reporter for The Hill, Timothy Cama, tweeted a rambling speech from Perry:

“I just got back from Africa, I’m going to finish up with this, because I think I heard a lady say there are people dying. Let me tell you where people are dying, is in Africa, because of the lack of energy that they have there. And it’s going to take fossil fuels to push power out to those villages in Africa, where a young girl told me to my face, ‘One of the reasons that electricity is so important to me is not only that I’m going to have to try to read by the light of a fire and have those fumes literally killing people.’

“But also from the standpoint of sexual assault. When the lights are on, when you have light that shines, the righteousness, if you will, on those types of acts. So from the standpoint of how you really affect people’s lives, fossil fuels is going to play a role in that. I happen to think it’s going to play a positive role.”

“Did I really read this?”
Well. Where to begin?

For starters, he’s apparently been attending the Donald Trump School of Sentence Fragments. What a disjointed mess(age) Perry’s statement was. Does he ever listen to himself?

Next up: It should have been “fossil fuels are going to play a role in this.” Subject verb agreement matters, even if you’re not the Secretary of Education.

And: Light that shines, the righteousness, if you will, on those types of acts. As the kids say, “Lol wut?” But it’s in keeping with Perry’s long history of inanities; get a glimpse of them in this compilation from Buzzfeed.

According to the Sacramento Bee, Twitter users immediately responded with a barrage of bon mots, such as:

It’s as if @SecretaryPerry thought, “Sexual assault is a hot topic right now; let me drop it in as a non sequitur.”

Rick Perry says fossil fuels are going to stop sexual assault because they generate power to create light which shines on bad things

Update: Rick Perry is still pretty dumb

Rick Perry ‘Righteous’ fossil fuels help prevent sexual assaults. Did I really read this or am I taking crazy pills?

The only real explanation for that Rick Perry quote is that he loves coal so much he's been licking it.

A real dim bulb
Department of Energy spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes told The Hill that Perry’s words were intended to “highlight the way electricity will improve the lives of people in Africa.”

“The secretary was making the important point that while many Americans take electricity for granted there are people in other countries who are impacted by their lack of electricity.”

Obviously the addition of streetlights in a village or town might have some effect on crimes of all types. But quite a few sex assaults take place indoors, possibly even in the victim's own home – how would electricity make a difference?

Here here are some things that would make a much bigger impact on sex-assault rates:

  • Education on consent – if the other person says “no,” then back off.
  • Police officers who investigate the crimes promptly and thoroughly, vs. re-victimizing those who have been assaulted.
  • A criminal justice system that takes the crime seriously: “Rape is a crime and you will do time.”
  • Harsher penalties for offenders.

Incandescent light won’t fix things all better, Secretary Perry. But since you’ve got plenty of it in your office, may we suggest you take a course in public speaking? You’re an embarrassment to the U.S. just about every time you open your mouth.

Photo: Shutterstock/Andrew Cline

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