The Lorax, a Holocaust Prophecy DVD, and Other Weird Stuff People Have Sent Rick Perry

It’s what makes being energy secretary fun!

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

This story was originally published by HuffPost and appears here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

Rick Perry gets a lot of nice stuff. Back when he served as the governor of Texas, he received 22 pairs of cowboy boots, Stetson hats, and belt buckles. He even got a TV.

During his first nine months as the secretary of the Department of Energy, Perry accepted more than 100 gifts. Dozens of books. A lapel pin stating “Trump will change US.” Energy Department-branded T-shirts.

The Saudi energy minister brought Perry a commemorative plaque. His Kazakh equivalent offered a green velveteen coat with a black mink collar. India’s minister of petroleum and natural gas presented a silver filigree peacock statuary in a Plexiglas box, which Perry displayed in his office.

Sure, that’s how foreign dignitaries make nice. But the gifts below―revealed in records released under the Freedom of Information Act and reviewed by HuffPost―are truly bizarre:

A DVD that prophesizes “another Jewish Holocaust”

In the film, Baxter, a longtime televangelist and self-proclaimed “international prophecy teacher,” predicts “there is another Jewish Holocaust coming” but that “all Jews who heed the warning of the prophecies will escape.” He prophesizes that Europe will become “the future power base of the Antichrist,” but says the “nations of Jordan and Israel will never be controlled by the Antichrist,” in part because “the US will protect Israel from attack.”

“This lets us know that the US will be opposed to the Antichrist during the time called the Great Tribulation,” he says. “This is wonderful news!”

A children’s book on particle physics

Four days after Perry took charge of an agency he once vowed to abolish, a “science-loving National Laboratory employee” (whose name is not revealed) gave him a softcover copy of The ABCs of Particle Physics, an illustrated book published by Symmetry Magazine with funding from the Department of Energy.  

The Lorax

An individual whose name was redacted and whose company was listed as unknown gave Perry a hardcover copy of Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, the urgent tale of a mustachioed environmentalist creature who speaks for the trees when greedy industrialists chop them down.

The next month, Perry proposed staggering cuts to the Energy Department’s budget, including completely eliminating funding for vital renewable energy research divisions.

Italian socks

A person whose name was redacted and whose company was listed as unknown presented Perry with a box of black cotton Bresciani socks last September.

Climate denier books

In July, Laura Starks, the chief executive of the Texas-based energy consultancy Starks Energy Economics, gifted Perry a copy of The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, a 2014 book by Alex Epstein, a self-described philosopher who boasts about debating environmentalists and being hired to give talks to big oil and gas companies’ employees.

In October, Gregory Wrightstone, a geologist who made a name for himself in right-wing media by refuting climate science, gave Perry a copy of his book Inconvenient Facts―The Science That Al Gore Doesn’t Want You To Know.

Oil fan fiction

Author Kenneth Gray gave Perry eight copies of his 2002 book, The Rock That Burns, a “political novel designed to inform readers of unknown or ignored facts regarding the potential of U.S. oil shale resources.”

The plot is described on Amazon like this: “The negative impacts of no-growth environmentalists, the Bureau of Land Management, and the giant oil company consortiums on development of these resources is depicted through fictional characters. The Rock That Burns is the story of an economics professor, a journalist, a preacher, and an Air Force pilot who oppose U.S. energy policy for different reasons and are caught in a web of international intrigue.”

A personalized hard hat

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt isn’t the only Cabinet member with his name on a hard hat. In October, National Mining Association Chairman Kevin Crutchfield gave Perry a white plastic “Comfo-Cap” with his name in blue letters. The hard hat is valued at $65. That same day, Perry addressed members of the association at a breakfast sponsored by Japanese conglomerate Komatsu Mining Corp. at the Trump International Hotel in Washington.  

A portrait of himself 

In November, the Federation of Asian-American Voters gave Perry a portrait of himself on canvas. He put the painting in a vault.

A Bill Clinton-themed adaptation of Macbeth

Two weeks before Christmas, Sam Griffith, a former justice on the Texas 12th Court of Appeals who became a preacher, presented Perry with a copy of his book, MacClinton, an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth billed as “the tragedy of the Clintons.”

The cover of the play shows a red-nosed Clinton wearing a gold crown and a red robe, smoking a cigar and looking mischievously at a similarly clothed Hillary Clinton, who is angrily pointing at a blue dress suit she’s holding on a hanger. The first scene opens in the “lingerie aisle of a department store” and features “three itches, who are obviously peroxide blondes with high, bouffant hairdos and large, silicone-enhanced chests, wearing lots of make-up and tight stretch clothes.”

More Mother Jones reporting on Climate Desk


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend