Trump Backs Ex-Interior Secretary Zinke for New Montana House Seat
Former President Donald Trump Friday gave his one-time Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke his "complete and total endorsement" in his race for Montana's newly created second House seat.
"As Montana’s Congressman for the new 2nd District, Ryan will fight against the Radical Left Democrats who continually block the America First policies we put in place. He will be a strong leader for the great Patriots of Montana," Trump said in a statement issued early Friday through the Save America PAC.
He also praised Zinke's leadership at the Department of the Interior, which he held from 2017 until his resignation in late 2018, saying during that time the United States "achieved Energy Dominance, increased federal energy revenues, and responsibly opened federal acreage for energy production. He was instrumental in expanding public access to public lands for recreation and rebuilding our National Parks and Forests infrastructure."
Zinke filed paperwork in April signaling his interest in running for the second U.S. House seat that was awarded to the state based on U.S. Census results.
He has served as a U.S. Navy SEAL, was in the Montana Senate from 2009 to 2013, and was the state's lone U.S. House member from 2015 to 2017 before Trump appointed him to head the Department of Interior in early 2017.
On Trump's behalf, Zinke enacted broad rollbacks of restrictions on oil and gas drilling that were cheered by industry but booed by environmental groups and Democrat lawmakers who said he put profit for corporations ahead of land preservation.
He resigned from the Interior post in December 2018 during investigations that he has slammed as having been politically motivated.
After leaving Trump's cabinet, Zinke became a consultant and board member at a Nevada mining company, U.S. Gold Corp. He also became the managing director and consultant for a North Carolina-based private investment company, Artillery One, and joined Washington lobbying firm Turnberry Solutions, according to reports.