Washington – Former Gov. Sonny Perdue took a victory lap of sorts on Thursday, appearing at the Georgia State Society Ball to peels of congratulations just hours after Donald Trump formally offered him the agriculture secretary job.
The Georgia Republican told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution it was an “exciting” opportunity to help shape the nation’s rural policy as the Department of Agriculture’s leader. He was asked what it would mean to become the first Southerner to fill the job since the early 1990s.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for America,” he said. “Georgia is a diversified agriculture state, but there are a lot of places across the country and I’m looking forward to learning about everything from coast to coast.”
Of Trump’s phone call late Thursday, a moment captured by former Trump Georgia campaign head Billy Kirkland, he said it was “very gracious and very complimentary.”
Trump said Thursday that he’s expecting “big results” out of Sonny Perdue as U.S. agriculture secretary, and said some of his rivals who sought the coveted post had never even seen a farm.
But the former Georgia governor is largely a blank slate for many of the lawmakers who will be voting on his confirmation and working with him on farm policy.
Perdue’s appearance caused a minor stir at the sold-out ball, a bipartisan event sponsored by corporate heavyweights that featured country music singer Josh Turner.
The event at the National Museum of Women in the Arts was packed with operatives, lobbyists and politicians who schmoozed and danced on the eve of Trump’s inauguration.
House Speaker David Ralston, Rep. Doug Collins, Attorney General Chris Carr and U.S. Sen. David Perdue were among the GOP leaders making the rounds. A handful of Democrats were on hand, too, including Rep. David Scott and state Rep. Vernon Jones.