On Tuesday, President-elect Donald Trump selected former Navy SEAL commander and current Montana Congressman, Ryan Zinke, to lead the Department of the Interior. Rep. Zinke served in the military for over two decades before retiring at the rank of Commander in 2008. Before enlisting, the soon-to-be Secretary of the Interior attended the University of Oregon where he studied geology. If approved by the Senate, the 55-year-old former SEAL will be responsible for overseeing and managing the nation’s public land, national parks, and wildlife refuges. Zinke currently serves on the House National Resources and Armed Services Committees.
Before retiring as Navy Commander, Zinke was awarded two Bronze Stars for combat missions in Iraq. During his time in politics, Zinke has been an advocate for greater use of the nation’s public lands, pushing for policies which encourage energy production. He has also called for state control of energy development on federal lands.
The retired SEAL appeared on Fox News on Tuesday to speak about the meeting he had with Trump at Trump Tower on Monday.
“We talked about a wide range of issues,” Rep. Zinke told host Steve Doocy, “from women in combat, to land policy, to Indian Bureau of Affairs, to the VA and Veterans. He’s very, very inquisitive.”
“If the President asks you to do something,” Rep. Zinke continued, “it’s very difficult to say no.”
Trump spokesman Jason Miller said before Trump and Zinke’s meeting that “Congressman Zinke is a strong advocate for American energy independence, and he supports an all-encompassing energy policy that includes renewables, fossil fuels and alternative energy.”