Ryan Zinke, Montana Congressman, Confirmed as Trump’s Interior Secretary

Montana Republican Ryan Zinke won Senate confirmation Wednesday to lead the Trump administration’s Interior Department, garnering votes from several Democrats who threw support behind the one-term congressman.

The Senate voted 68-31 in Zinke’s favor — a solid margin for a Trump cabinet appointee after a handful of other nominees were approved by a razor’s-edge.

Image: Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on nomination of Ryan Zinke to be Secretary of the Interior
Ryan Zinke testifies before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 17, 2017. Michael Reynolds / EPA

Zinke, a former Navy SEAL who describes himself as a “Teddy Roosevelt Republican,” will oversee the department responsible for the management of federal lands and natural resources. He has defended expanding oil, gas and coal production, and has also warned that landowners in Western states are voicing concern over encroaching federal control.

“I have to go out there and restore trust,” he said at his January confirmation hearing.

Zinke, at the hearing, did noticeably contradict President Donald Trump by testifying that he accepts climate change is real and man-made.

“I do not believe it’s a hoax,” Zinke said, in contrast with the president, who previously tweeted that it’s a “hoax” created by China.

Related: Trump’s Cabinet: What You Need to Know About It

Zinke, 55, was also questioned at the hearing about a House vote this year that makes it easier to transfer federal lands to states.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., fired off a series of tweets Wednesday explaining why he vote against Zinke, arguing that “you can’t be a Roosevelt conservationist when you vote to make it easier to sell off public lands.”

Still unconfirmed is Ben Carson as Housing and Urban Development secretary. Carson’s Senate vote has been held up since his confirmation hearing in January

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5 thoughts on “Ryan Zinke, Montana Congressman, Confirmed as Trump’s Interior Secretary

  1. I don’t know – seeing as how it could have been Cathy McMorris-Rodgers, it could have been much worse. She’s a climate change denier and also has sponsored legislation to sell of the public lands. I guess she’d be PC though otherwise. Obama’s picks of Ken Salazar and Sally Jewell were not stellar either. He has come out repeatedly saying that he will not sell of the public lands, but yet Democrats still want to create uncertainty and controversy around him.

    • Especially Ken Salazar, who did a lot of damage as Secretary of the Interior under the Obama administration. And yet, Hillary wanted him as her transition team head. We may have dodged a bullet there.

      • I agree with you. When it comes to the environment and animal welfare issues neither party do a good job. 0bama did a little more not because he cared but to annoy the conservatives, and in my opinion his half measures never went far enough, just enough to serve his purpose.

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