Sen. Al Franken meant to be funny, but former Texas Gov. Rick Perry had the last laugh.
During his Senate confirmation hearing Thursday, President Donald Trump’s nominee for energy secretary gave Franken a “compliment” so unexpected that it stopped the proceedings for a moment, according to Yahoo News.
Franken, a former comedian turned liberal politician, started things off.
“Thank you so much for coming into my office. Did you enjoy meeting me?” Franken deadpanned, referring to an earlier meeting between the two.
Perry didn’t miss a beat: “I hope you are as much fun on that dais as you were on your couch,” he replied.
A moment of stunned silence ensued as Franken was rendered speechless as Perry’s answer sank in. Slowly, laughter began to swell in the chamber as Perry appeared to reconsider his words.
“May I rephrase that, sir?” he asked, before nearly doubling over.
“Please, please, please … oh, my Lord,” Franken groaned, to mounting laughter.
Perry closed the exchange with, “Well, I think we found our ‘Saturday Night Live’ sound bite.”
You can watch the two here:
Before entering politics, Franken was a writer and actor on “Saturday Night Live” in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Before becoming the energy nominee, Perry was a contestant on this season’s “Dancing With the Stars.” (He was eliminated in September.)
Perry clearly can’t dance, but his comedic chops are flawless.
The exchange was not the only light moment of Perry’s hearing. When asked if he agreed with reported plans to cut the department’s budget, Perry made a humorous reference to his own notorious moment during a 2011 Republican primary debate when he forgot that the Energy Department was one of three federal cabinet positions he wanted to do away with.
He suggested that those advocating such cuts would “have the same experience I had and forget that they said that,” according to Fox News.
“My past statements made over five years ago about abolishing the Department of Energy do not reflect my current thinking,” Perry told USA Today. “In fact, after being briefed on so many of the vital functions of the Department of Energy, I regret recommending its elimination.”
Perry went on to explain that in the past few years, his position on the Department of Energy has become enlightened by experience with the department, and he has become an ardent supporter.
Over time, his views have become more informed and more balanced, and it takes integrity to both admit and be able to explain that process.
Governor, dancer, cabinet nominee, comedian? Perry’s next career move could take him anywhere.
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H/T The Right Scoop