Ryan Zinke would’ve accepted basically any cabinet position in the Trump administration, according to a new profile of the Secretary of the Interior in GQ. It’s almost as if, to Zinke, all the jobs are basically the same—stamp a rubber stamp on a document, do some yell-yell-yelling at a protester, make public land private property because someone (was it your chief of staff? or a waiter at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse?) suggested it—you know, government stuff.
The profile is fairly long and discusses a number of issues related to Zinke’s tenure so far, including his subtle shift to Trump priorities like resource extraction, his department’s perpetual short-staffing, and his own political ambitions.
The most revealing passage in the piece, though, describes the new friends Zinke’s made since starting his job, and the fun they all seem to have:
He’s naturally closest with the fellow veterans Mattis and Kelly, the former with whom he served in Iraq, but he’s also become good friends with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue (the two, along with their wives, sat together at Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s recent Washington wedding. “We all danced a bit,” Zinke says). He’s fond of Energy Secretary Rick Perry, too. “Secretary Perry is a wonderful guy,” he says. “I think he thought his department was more about energy than... science. Mostly, it’s science. And, of course, they also have the responsibility of our nuclear arsenal. Interior is the one that produces energy... we laugh a lot about it.” Couched in Zinke’s charming, folksy affect, such a worrisome admission sounds somehow less troubling—more like an inside joke, a quirky facet of Club Cabinet.
Oh ha ha ha, I, too, love to laugh with my adult friends about our “jobs” and what they could “entail;” whether Boffrey, Secretary of Holes, is responsible for the people inside the holes, while I, Secretary of People, am responsible for the digging the holes that we throw the people into. It’s funny because it doesn’t make sense, and because I didn’t do any research about the secretaryship before enthusiastically accepting it, but mostly because we are white and paid and nobody is threatening to bury us in the holes that Boffrey and I supervised the digging of.
Read the full profile here.