Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry wrapped up a trip to Beijing, China, on Thursday where he attended the second annual Mission Innovation meeting to discuss clean energy solutions with some of the world's top energy leaders.
During his visit, he sat down with a Bloomberg reporter to talk about China, clean energy, and how he felt about President Donald Trump's decision to back out of the Paris climate accord. Perry didn't hold back in his response.
"On the Paris climate change accord, you were right to want to stay in, weren't you? Because it has reduced America's role and we are seeing China and Europe step into that void now," the Bloomberg reporter asked him.
"Well, I think it's rather interesting that those of you who were of the 'oh you must stay in' position don't have a little bit of reality to your view, which is: I could argue it round or square," Perry responded. "At the end of the day, the administration made the decision — and I agree with it — when you looked at the cost versus the benefit that you were going to get from being in the Paris agreement, it wasn't worth it."
"Jeremy Diamond, Lloyd Blankfein, GM, Ford, Exxon, they're all wrong on this issue?" the reporter pushed back, but Perry held his ground.
"Yeah, I think they are wrong. I think they're coming at it from the political side of it rather than the reality side of it," Perry said. "I look at it from the reality side of it: We're going to continue to be leaders in clean energy. That's going to happen."
Perry had previously said at the end of April that while he did not believe the United States should pull out of the Paris climate accord, he did think Trump should renegotiate the terms.
"I'm not going to tell the president of the United States let's just walk away from the Paris accord. But what I'm going to say is I think we probably need to renegotiate it, and they need to get serious about," he said at the time.