It’s only been about six months since Rick Perry was cha-cha-cha-ing his way around the dance floor and deejaying with Vanilla Ice on Dancing With The Stars, and he’s already risen from the depths of reality television to arguably one of the most powerful positions in the entire world. On Wednesday, amid a White House shakeup that saw President Donald Trump boot chief strategist Stephen Bannon from the National Security Council, Energy Secretary Perry is skipping on over to the council.
Bloomberg first reported the changes late Wednesday morning. According to a White House memo, Perry is one of five new faces set to have a seat on the council, which is the main policy-making body used by the president when deciding issues of national security. The NSC has legal authorization to order the killing or capture of suspected terrorists, including American citizens.
The move gives Perry a much larger role in security issues than he previously had while simply serving as the Secretary of the Department of Energy, though in that role, too, he’s in charge of overseeing the nation’s nuclear arsenal. Perry joins a fellow Texan, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, on the council.
It’s hardly unusual for the energy secretary to be on the council—in fact, the Energy Secretary has been a statutory member since 2007, joining the president, vice president, secretary of state, and secretary of defense. President Barack Obama added his energy secretary to the council in 2009, so it makes sense that Trump is getting Perry on board. But what sets Perry’s addition apart is, of course, is that he is without a doubt the first Dancing With The Stars alum to be advising the president on national security issues.
But the energy secretary is a statutory member for a reason, as scientific knowledge can potentially be a key attribute to bring to the table. As FiveThirtyEight’s Maggie Koerth-Baker wrote in January, the energy secretary is expected to “bring deep expertise to discussions about nuclear proliferation, weapons readiness, the verification of whether other countries are following various treaties, sanctions related to the oil and gas trade, and relationships with countries whose energy policies are an important part of global security.”