Trump picks Montana Rep. Zinke for interior post

In this Dec. 12, 2016, file photo, Rep. Ryan Zinke, right, R-Mont., President-elect Donald Trump's choice for interior secretary, arrives at Trump Tower, in New York. Conservatives who have long complained about the government’s control of vast Western lands hope they will have a new ally in Donald Trump, who has sent mixed signals about how he might manage land and whether he would relinquish federal authority over millions of acres. Zinke denies that he favors relinquishing federal control of the land, as Democrats allege. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President-elect Donald Trump has officially chosen Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke to serve as his interior secretary.

Zinke was an early supporter of Trump's and publicly sought a Cabinet post when Trump visited Montana in May.

Trump's decision to tap Zinke for interior upends Senate Republican plans of recruiting the congressman to challenge two-term Democratic Sen. Jon Tester in 2018.

As Montana's at-large representative, Zinke has proven he can win statewide, and the GOP considered Tester vulnerable in the midterms.

As with several other Trump Cabinet nominees, Zinke has advocated for increased energy drilling and mining on public lands and expressed skepticism about the urgency of climate change.

 

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