• Ryan Zinke Running For President In 2024?

    Reports from Iowa indicate that some are already dipping their toe in the water for 2024.  Current Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke may be one of them.

    The Des Moines Register reported on April 3, 2018 that “a polling firm has been calling Iowa Republican voters to test Zinke’s name recognition for a possible run, presumably in 2024. This shows that the White House sweepstakes has started very early, and that Zinke is known in D.C. as somebody with White House ambitions.” The Billings Gazette picked up on that story as did Political Wire.  Zinke has proven to be both compelling and controversial.

    Compelling because of his unique trail from the Navy to the Trump Administration. Zinke was a Navy SEAL from 1986 to 2008 and served his nation in the military unlike so many others who choose to be involved in politics.  Zinke won a seat as a Representative from Montana for one term after serving in the Montana state legislature.  As Secretary of the Interior for President Donald Trump, Zinke became the first person from Montana to have a Cabinet slot.  From all reports, Zinke is well liked within the Administration.

    Controversial because of his actions as Secretary.  Zinke was investigated by the Inspector General of the Interior Department for charter flights including one to Las Vegas to address professional hockey players that cost the taxpayers $12,375, one in March of 2017 from the Caribbean Islands of St. Croix to St. Thomas for a ceremony costing the taxpayers $3,150, and one in May of 2017 between towns in Alaska as part of a Congressional delegation at a cost of $3,932 according to USA Today.  Zinke is yet another Trump Administration official accused of misuse of taxpayer resources.

    Also, Zinke’s official actions have raised some eyebrows with regard to public lands and his lack of soliciting input from the Western Governors Association for plans to reorganize the Department of the Interior.  A bipartisan group of western governors wrote Zinke on February 1, 2018 “Western Governors appreciate your desire to improve the efficiency of the Department of the Interior (DOI) so that it can more effectively respond to the needs of our nation. Governors believe reform proposals should be grounded in thoughtful analysis of business practices. Additionally, we believe that carefully considered opportunities for shared services, process improvements, management changes and other administrative reforms across DOI bureaus can lead to efficiency, cost savings, improved services, and furtherance of DOI’s mission.” These issues will play out over the next few years and may determine whether Ryan Zinke has a real chance of succeeding President Trump.

    The fact that Zinke is already being considered as a politician who may be measuring the drapes in the White House for 2024 likely will irk Vice President Mike Pence and others who will also be pushed to run if Trump wins a second term and things go well.  It will be interesting to watch if Zinke can be a Boy Scout moving forward when it comes to travel and more inclusive in his decisions with regard to public lands.  If Zinke takes actions that anger his western base of support, he might not make it as Interior Secretary into a second term.

    Cloakroom Confidential

    Cloakroom Confidential was a longtime Capitol Hill staffer and insider who has contacts in the House and Senate at the highest levels.

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