Texas oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens, who was once on the fence about supporting President-elect Donald Trump, has now become one of his top advisors on energy policy.
The FOX Business Network has learned that Pickens advised Trump throughout the campaign on how to handle the energy challenges that face the United States, and remains willing to give council to the President-elect and his nominee for Secretary of Energy, former Governor Rick Perry (R-TX).
Jay Rosser, spokesman for Boone Pickens, admitted that Pickens was in touch with Trump numerous times, and confirmed that he is open to assisting the incoming president in the future.
“Boone has had several discussions with President-elect Trump throughout the campaign, and has clearly outlined his thoughts on the energy challenges and opportunities to help ‘Make America Great Again’ on the backs of our abundant American energy resources,” Rosser said. “Boone also had a great relationship with Rick Perry, the incoming secretary of the Department of Energy. If asked, I know Boone will continue to share his thoughts on this important subject."
Though it’s unclear the last time Pickens spoke with Trump, he did publish a LinkedIn article in December, outlining what the Trump administration needs to do in order to turn Trump’s goal of energy self-sufficiency into a reality. He breaks down his proposed energy plan into two parts, “Don’t screw up what we have going for us” and “Don’t settle for what we’ve done so far.”
If the Trump administration is taking Pickens’ suggestions to heart, the new administration could enact a combination of conservative and moderate energy policies as recommended by the outline. On one hand, Pickens emphasizes the importance of fracking and moving ahead with the completion of the Keystone XL pipeline, which was stalled under President Obama. On the other hand, he’s also advising Trump not to go too far to the right, cautioning the new administration not to abandon the country's investment in renewable energy sources.
Although Pickens noted electric cars won't replace gas guzzlers overnight, he said “ renewable energy sources have a lot of potential, and we need a power grid capable of connecting those vehicles and everything else to the next generation of electricity generation. A grid designed to protect America against cyber or physical attacks and to promote efficiencies in home, commercial and industrial usage.
The decision by Pickens to offer his counsel to Trump is an interesting twist to their sometimes tense relationship. As first reported by FOX Business, Pickens cancelled a June fundraising event after he became uncomfortable with Trump’s fundraising apparatus, including the super PACs the President-elect was once connected to.
Now that Trump has nominated long-time Pickens ally, Rick Perry, to lead the Department of Energy, the oil tycoon has every reason to continue supporting the new administration. The former Governor of Texas was a surprising choice to some. During an “oops” moment in a 2011 presidential debate, Perry infamously forgot the name of the Department of Energy, as he was trying to list it as one of the three departments of government he would eliminate if elected President.
Nevertheless Pickens stood by him and said in a statement “Rick Perry is a friend. He was a great Texas governor, and I believe he will be a great Secretary of Energy.”
The Trump transition team didn’t return calls for comment prior to publication.