Ryan Zinke, outgoing Interior secretary, ripped by Democratic leaders amid exit from Trump admin.

December 15, 2018 GMT

Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill ripped into Ryan Zinke on Saturday in light of President Trump announcing the end of his stint as secretary of the interior.

House minority leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate minority leader Charles E. Schumer both issued statements blasting Mr. Zinke shortly after Mr. Trump announced he will be replaced in 2019.

“Secretary Zinke has been a shameless handmaiden for the special interests,” said Ms. Pelosi, California Democrat. “His staggering ethical abuses have delivered a serious and lasting blow to America’s public lands, environment clean air and clean water.”


“Ryan Zinke was one of the most toxic members of the cabinet in the way he treated our environment, our precious public lands and the way he treated the govt like it was his personal honey pot,” Mr. Schumer, New York Democrat, said on Twitter. “The swamp cabinet will be a little less foul without him.”

The White House did not immediately return a request for comment.

Mr. Trump announced earlier Saturday that Mr. Zinke, his secretary of the interior since Jan. 2018, “will be leaving the Administration at the end of the year.”

“Ryan has accomplished much during his tenure and I want to thank him for his service to our Nation,” Mr. Trump said on Twitter.

Mr. Zinke’s tenure has not been without controversy, however, evidenced by officials launching at least 15 investigations into allegations of personal and official misconduct, Ms. Pelosi noted.

“Americans are confronted with an Administration of unprecedented corruption, cronyism and incompetence, which has shown zero respect for the office or taxpayers’ money,” said the soon-to-be House speaker. “The American people have demanded a new dawn of transparency, accountability and openness in government. When Democrats take the gavel in January, we will clean up corruption to make Washington work For The People.”

A former congressman for Montana and member of the Navy SEALs, Mr. Zinke addressed the allegations in a statement issued Saturday afternoon confirming his exit.

“I love working for the President and am incredibly proud of all the good work we’ve accomplished together. However, after 30 years of public service, I cannot justify spending thousands of dollars defending myself and my family against false allegations. It is better for the President and Interior to focus on accomplishments rather than fictitious allegations,” Mr. Zinke said in a statement.

The White House will announce Mr. Zinke’s replacement next week, Mr. Trump tweeted.