“From the father of bloody horse slaughter comes yet another new angle used to confuse and confound the American people. A true embarrassment to American values!” ~ R.T.
After angering millions of Americans for his brazen anti-environmental agenda, can the Interior Secretary win back the trust of citizens?
Ryan Zinke did something recently he should have done the first week he took over the helm of the Interior Department in 2017 and began flying his own flag: meeting with a diverse array of American conservation leaders whose groups, in turn, represent tens of millions of people who care about environmental protection.
One person who was in the room told me: “It was just a meeting, nothing more. The Secretary doing a lot of smooth talking. Anyone who believes he’s a born-again conservationist is a fool.”
The person said that akin to when Zinke, a former Congressman from Montana, went through confirmation hearings to become Interior Secretary, he claimed he’d be emulating Theodore Roosevelt. “Instead,” the individual said, “the decisions he’s made have caused even some hook and bullet organizations to distance themselves from him.”
Zinke has his own personal agenda and we don’t yet know what it is. Some have speculated he intends to run for governor in Montana or the U.S. senate or that he has positioned himself to pull in millions serving on the board of directors for maybe a fossil fuel or mining or chemical company after he leaves Washington D.C.
A person inside the Interior Department told me that Zinke finally realizes that his actions have ignited a backlash among conservationists he thought he held in the palm of his hand.
I’ve had an ongoing request to do a comprehensive interview with Zinke going back a year now. When he was a Congressman he told me he’d be happy to do an interview any time. Now his young press secretary, Heather Swift, who possesses no real acumen for Western issues, said she “didn’t think it would be in the best interests of the Secretary to sit down for an in-depth interview.”
A couple of things: when I told a few former Interior press secretaries I know who have served under both Republican and Democrat Interior Secretaries of Swift’s attempts to control the press, they replied that Zinke and Ms. Swift are mistaken if they believe interviews are only granted to advance Zinke’s personal best interests.
He is obligated to answer tough questions about his stewardship of the people’s landscape—hundreds of millions of acres of public land under his authority—and which belong to all citizens. Further, U.S. taxpayers fund the salaries of Zinke and Swift, not a political party nor special interests who hold sway in the swamp.
To date, Zinke has, for the most part, only courted press opportunities with reporters whom he knows will not subject him to probing inquires. I know many reporters nationwide who are also frustrated by Swift’s evasive behavior.
She has aggressively tried to deflect reporters eager to ask Zinke about his policies favoring, for example, the energy industry over the protection of finite things such as clean water and air, wildlife habitat and the fact that morale of federal land management agencies has gone into steep decline under Zinke’s command…(CONTINUED)