Media outlets: Trump close to choosing Perdue for Ag secretary
January 3, 2017
President-elect Donald Trump appears to likely to nominate for Agriculture secretary the first person he interviewed for the position, former Georgia Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue, a series of media outlets reported today.
Perdue declined to comment on the possible nomination, Politico said today.
Bloomberg, Reuters, The Atlanta Journal Constitution and Politico all reported that sources had said Perdue is the likely choice, but there has been no announcement and the Trump transition team has declined to confirm that a decision has been made.
The speculation about Perdue occurred amidst criticism that Trump is late to pick an Agriculture secretary and had become more concerned with finding an Hispanic or a woman to add to the Cabinet than with selecting a secretary who had experience with USDA.
Trump's decision to consider former Rep. Henry Bonilla, R-Texas, did not go over well with some members of his agricultural advisory team, even though Bonilla chaired the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee.
"Before being elected to Congress, Henry Bonilla was a television news producer at KENS TV in San Antonio. He wouldn't know the back end from the front end of a cow. And the only row crop he has ever seen is the rows of grapefruit at the local HEB grocery store," one Texan wrote to a Washington lawyer. … The USDA is not the place to play with social engineering in order to make your cabinet look a little bit more brown or female. … They need to quit playing games with the farmers, ranchers, and ag producers of America."
The Texan also described the Agriculture secretary as "the cabinet position that impacts the lives of more Trump voters than any other."
An agricultural lobbyist emailed to The Hagstrom Report: "Pretty soon ag is going to start saying that Trump doesn't care about us. I think it's getting embarrassing."
Members of Trump's agricultural advisory committee had also been critical of other candidates Trump interviewed, including Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D.; Idaho Republican Gov. Butch Otter; former Texas A&M President Elsa Murano; former Texas Agriculture Commissioner Susan Combs; and former California Republican Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado. Sid Miller, the current Texas agriculture commissioner, also applied for the job. Trump aides interviewed him, but Trump did not meet personally with Miller.