As Politico’s John Bresnahan first noted, anyone scoping out the Dept of the Interior today was greeted with an odd sight:Trump’s new Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, 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.
— Secretary Ryan Zinke (@SecretaryZinke) March 2, 2017
BSEE is pleased to welcome the new Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. “Lets get to work!” pic.twitter.com/520TMPxslr
— BSEE (@BSEEgov) March 2, 2017
Why a horse? The transportation choice aligns with Zinke’s choice to brand himself as a conservative and conservationist in the mold of President Teddy Roosevelt, a strong advocate for outdoor recreation who established numerous national parks. As The Hill adds, 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.
He’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 American’s 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