Apparently trying to rehab his badly damaged image in Montana, Ryan Zinke took to the state’s least objective radio show this morning to deny rumors that he’s looking for the exit door at the Department of Interior and even considering a laughable run for Governor in 2020. Talking with “journalist” Aaron Flint this morning, Zinke in classic fashion blamed the media for his problems, and conveniently glossed over the growing list of serious investigations into his conduct and misuse of taxpayer resources that are ongoing.
The rumors are swirling that he’s desperately searching for an escape before Trump is able to fire him, and some of the talk has focused on a sure-to-fail run for Governor. Zinke strongly denied that he’s considering a run, and frankly, for once people should be inclined to believe what he’s saying. After all, his brief and scandal-ridden tenure at DOI mostly centered around slashing public lands protections, denying it, and trying to dodge accusation after accusation of blatant ethical breaches.
And, as we learned today, not even bothering to show up for work at a level that even President Trump is concerned about the Secretary’s penchant for vacation time, meet and greets with billionaires, and vacation time at our expense.
Polling shows Zinke‘s popularity in Montana has nose-dived since taking on the role of public lands enemy number one, so not running for Governor is probably the first smart political move he’s made. He knows Montanans are tired of him talking out both sides of his mouth, and he’s bowing out early to avoid (another) massive embarrassment for himself and our state.
It seems Zinke’s luck has finally run out. Under the scrutiny of the D.C. press, his inability to manage government resources and almost pathological desire to have others pay for his exorbitant travel has caught up with him, and it’s hard to see how Zinke escapes the net without even more serious damage to the “Z” brand.
And it seems clear Montanans don’t ever need to worry about Zinke flying his adorable personal flag over our state capitol, no matter how much he wants the job.