Zinke quits Interior on heels of Guam, CNMI meetings

Ryan Zinke, 52nd Secretary of the Interior. Field portrait from the official website of the U.S. Dept. of Interior.

Guam – US Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke’s resignation from the Trump Administration follows the secretary’s recent visits with governors of Guam and the CNMI.

A retired Navy SEAL Commander who once lived on Guam, Secretary Zinke visited the territory and met with Gov. Eddie Calvo in September while on a trip to attend the Pacific Islands Forum in Nauru. Zinke met with CNMI Governor Ralph Torres in Washington this winter to help secure funding for key typhoon recovery projects in the Northern Marianas.

Zinke leaves Interior just weeks before Democrats, including Guam’s own Delegate-elect Michael San Nicolas, take control of the Lower House of Congress. ABC News reports that the new Democratic majority is a shift in power that promises to “sharpen the probes” into Zinke’s conduct.

Zinke’s departure announcement emerges in the midst of numerous investigations. The exiting Secretary faults vicious attacks for his stepping down. Zinke faces federal investigations into his travel, political activity, and potential conflicts of interest. According to President Trump, Zinke will leave the administration at year’s end. An announcement of a nominee to fill the Cabinet vacancy could come this week.