New Interior secretary rides horse to first day at work

New Interior secretary rides horse to first day at work

Newly minted Secretary of the Interior Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeLawmakers say California will eventually get emergency funding for fire relief Mulvaney positioning himself to be Commerce Secretary: report Overnight Energy: Trump to visit California wildfire victims | Head of Park Service climate program resigns | Dems rip Trump pick for energy panel MORE rode a horse to his first day of work at the department’s Washington, D.C., headquarters, Thursday morning.

Zinke wore a cowboy hat, boots and jeans for the Thursday morning ride, which preceded a welcoming event in the lobby of the building.

Photos tweeted by Zinke and by Interior’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement show the former Navy SEAL riding with U.S. Park Police officers.

“Honored to stand with the brave officers of @USParkPolice - these professionals put their lives on the line for us,” Zinke tweeted.

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The transportation choice aligns with Zinke’s choice to brand himself as a conservative and conservationist in the mold of President Theodore Roosevelt, a strong advocate for outdoor recreation who established numerous national parks.

Zinke was Montana’s sole House representative before the Senate confirmed him to the Interior post Wednesday. Vice President Pence swore him in Wednesday night.

Zinke's an ardent hunter, fisherman and outdoorsman, and pledged in the Senate to oppose any attempt at large-scale transfers of federal land — long a goal of some conservatives in the West.

“I am an unapologetic admirer of Teddy Roosevelt and believe he had it right when he placed under federal protection millions of acres of federal lands and set aside much of it as national forests,” Zinke told senators in January. “Today, much of those lands provide Americans the opportunity to hike, fish, camp, recreate and enjoy the great outdoors.”

His credentials earned him the support of 15 Democrats and numerous conservation groups.

But most Democrats and environmentalists opposed him, citing his desire to increase fossil fuel development on federal land, among other issues.