President-elect Donald Trump has reportedly offered the post of Secretary of the Interior Department to Republican congressman and former Navy SEAL Rep.Ryan Zinke.
Zinke, 55, has just won reelection to a second term as Montana's only House member. He has been an early Trump supporter. As probable head of the Interior Department, he will oversee and manage the nation's public lands including national parks and wildlife refuges.
The choice for the Interior secretary was said to have been a toss-up between Zinke and fellow Republican, Rep.Kathy McMorris Rogers who has met with Trump twice already over the past days.
Rogers may have conceded already as her Facebook suggests where she wrote that it was an honor to have spent time with Trump and " that she is energized more than ever to continue leading in Congress as they think big, reorganize this government and put people back at the center of it." Rogers is likely to stay on Capitol Hill as part of House Speaker Paul Ryan's leadership team.
While both Trump and Zinke have not confirmed the offer, Zinke told Fox News in an interview that " if the President-elect asks you to do something, it would be very difficult to say no". Zinke also described Trump as " inquisitive" and a " great deal-maker" as they discussed a range of topics including land policy and veteran affairs.
Zinke is an awardee of two Bronze Stars for combat missions in Iraq. He also serves on House National Resources and Armed Services Committees. He advocates greater use of public lands for energy production such as oil and natural gas. He has also previously called for state control of energy development on federal lands. Zinke has also triggered discussions and raised concerns for his stance on climate change which he views as " unsettled science".
Some observers- even prior to an official announcement on Zirke's appointment by Trump- are already predicting that Zinke will face opposition from some environmental advocates. He is a known avid hunter.
Zinke, if appointed by Trump officially, would still have to pass through Senate confirmation.