Zinke to Leave White House at the End of the Year

Zinke's removal will mean almost complete turnover in Trump's Cabinet...

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Zinke to Leave White House at the End of the Year

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Dylan Yonce, News & Op Ed Editor

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Interior Secretary, Ryan Zinke, will be leaving the Trump Administration at the end of the year.  Zinke resigned under pressure on Saturday, following a number of ethics investigations into his business, policy, and travel decisions over the course of his nearly two years in the position.  President Donald Trump tweeted: “Secretary of the Interior @RyanZinke will be leaving the Administration at the end of the year after having served for a period of almost two years.  Ryan has accomplished much during his tenure and I want to thank him for his service to our Nation.”

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Prior to joining the Administration, Zinke served as Montana’s lone Congressman, and was replaced by Greg Gianforte following Zinke’s appointment to the Cabinet in 2016.  He is twelve in line to leave major Cabinet and Federal Agency positions since Trump took office. Congressional probes surrounding Zinke’s alleged ethics violations were already being discussed by newly elected Democrats that seized the House of Representatives in November.  The most pressing of these investigations involves a land deal in Whitefish, Montana, in which Zinke participated. The deal was made by an organization headed by Zinke’s wife, and was backed by the chairman of a major oil-services company called Halliburton. It drew national attention and suspected conflict of interest as Zinke regulates US public lands that companies like Halliburton would benefit from, if they were opened up for drilling and oil exploration.  During his time in the position, Zinke rolled back on Obama Administration environmental regulations, as well as recommended shrinking of national monuments and opening up land for oil and gas extraction. Environmentalists have been strong critics of Zinke since he took the position.

Zinke tweeted on Saturday that he “could not justify spending thousands of dollars defending (himself) and his family against false allegations.”  Trump is expected to announce his replacement for Interior Secretary next week, and Zinke will officially step down approaching the new year.