MSNBC Host, Contributors Mix Up EPA, Interior Dept., and Energy Dept.


A group of journalists on MSNBC had strong opinions on Tuesday about Secretary of Energy Rick Perry's job performance, but they had trouble recalling his Cabinet position.

Bloomberg View editor and MSNBC contributor Tim O'Brien was criticizing the Trump administration's stance on environmental issues when he started off the series of mistakes about Perry. He was trying to argue that President Donald Trump was wrong to put Perry in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), even though that is Scott Pruitt's job.

"Rick Perry is running the EPA," O'Brien said.

"He wanted to get rid of the EPA," Tur interjected, which is also incorrect. In his bid for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, Perry had proposed abolishing the Departments of Commerce, Education, and Energy—not the EPA.

"He didn't understand that he also had the nuclear arsenal under his aegis there," O'Brien continued. This is also false, based on an unattributed report that was debunked by previous quotes from Perry himself saying that he looked forward to "safeguarding our nuclear arsenal."

Tur then tried to correct their course but erred once again.

"Rick Perry's not running the EPA, he's running the Interior," she said. But the secretary of the Interior is, in fact, Ryan Zinke.

"Yeah, but still," MSNBC contributor and Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart said in response.

"I mean Energy, sorry," Tur said, finally naming the correct department. "I'm getting everyone confused."

"Now we're getting all confused," O'Brien said of Perry's position, which he got wrong in the first place.

Paul Crookston

Paul Crookston   Email Paul | Full Bio | RSS
Paul Crookston is a media analyst with the Washington Free Beacon. He was previously a Collegiate Network fellow at National Review. A 2016 graduate of Gordon College in Wenham, Mass., he served as the managing editor of the Tartan campus newspaper. He is originally from Tampa, Fla., but he still roots for Dad’s Ohio teams. His Twitter handle is @P_Crookston. He can be reached at

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