Tag Archives: Ryan Zinke

Now it’s Zinke who’s gone from Trump orbit

They’re leaving seemingly in droves. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is departing from the Trump administration at the end of the year, which is about two weeks from now.

That means to me that he was canned. Booted. Pushed out the door by the president of the United States, Donald Trump.

Indeed, the president’s milquetoast announcement this weekend thanking Zinke for his service to the nation suggests that the interior boss’s ethical troubles have, um, made him expendable.

As if that was the worst of Donald Trump’s troubles.

Zinke has been under a cloud since he took office in early 2017. There have been allegations of ethical abuses involving expenditure of public money. Now he’s gone. The president says he will find a new Interior secretary in a few days.

So, if you’re keeping score, we have seen the departure of: Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who was fired; FBI director James Comey, who was fired; Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, who was asked to resign; EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, who also was asked to resign; press secretary Sean Spicer, who was fired; numerous communications directors; senior policy adviser Steve Bannon, who was fired; two White House chiefs of staff, both of whom were fired; Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who was fired. And all of this happened before the first half of Donald Trump’s term as president.

Do I have ’em all? Probably not. You get the point. The White House is a chaotic blend of incompetence and corruption.

Oh, and let’s not forget about Donald Trump’s own difficulties, which are mounting by the hour.

This is not how you make America “great again.”

Rethinking the politics of oil drilling

I wasn’t all that keen on California Democrats’ assertion that Donald J. Trump was punishing their state because its residents voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.

Then came this bizarre decision by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

The secretary decided that the waters off the Florida coast wouldn’t be exposed to offshore drilling for oil. Zinke cited the vast impact on tourism to the state.

Now, I’ll stipulate that Florida voted for Donald Trump in 2016.

The decision has drawn bipartisan scorn along all the nation’s coasts.

Zinke’s decision has governors in other coastal states scratching their heads. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, is one of them. Oh, but wait! Oregon voted for Hillary in 2016! The Interior Department has not removed Oregon from the offshore drilling list of states.

Nor has it done so with Washington or California, two other pro-Hillary states along the Pacific Coast.

Gov. Brown said tonight that Oregon’s coast also brings billions of dollars into the state treasury annually from tourism and related activities. Brown noted that Oregon boasts 360 miles of gorgeous coastline. I can vouch for the beauty of the Oregon coast; I grew up in Oregon and spent many days and nights looking at the Pacific Ocean.

She cannot understand why the Trump administration has singled out Florida, removing that state from the roster of coastal states where offshore oil exploration will take place.

Actually, she can understand. Brown and other critics are winking and nodding at the notion that Mar-a-Lago — the president’s posh coastal resort — might be affected by offshore drilling activity.

Hmm. Politics, anyone?

Fairness compels me to mention that there are a number of other pro-Trump coastal states that are facing offshore drilling pressure. Texas is one of them. Same for Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and the Carolinas. Let’s not forget Alaska.

You travel north from North Carolina and you’ll find all the Atlantic Coast states voted for Hillary. They won’t get any break, either.

Yes, it is fair to ask: Why exempt just Florida?

I’m scratching my head, too.