MATTHEW DALY, Associated Press, WASHINGTON (AP) — Rick Perry's rarely been seen publicly around Washington since becoming energy secretary.

So what's he been doing?

Touring Energy Department sites around the country. Representing the Trump administration at a meeting in Italy. And now he's on a nine-day trip to Asia, where he'll visit a Japanese nuclear plant that was damaged in a 2011 meltdown and attend a clean energy meeting.

The former Texas governor says he's having the time of his life running an agency he once said he wanted to eliminate.

Perry calls it "the coolest job I've ever had."

He'll soon have a chance to back up those words, as he defends a budget proposal that slashes funding for science and other programs.

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