McMorris Rodgers: Invite
by Matthew Weaver
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers said she never received an offer to become U.S. Secretary of the Interior from President-elect Donald Trump despite reports that she was the front-runner for the job.
McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., said Vice President-elect Mike Pence called her “out of the blue” the Friday before Thanksgiving, asking her to meet with Trump. Several meetings covered various topics, including issues involving the Interior Department.
“Last Thursday, I was on the floor for votes, members were congratulating me and I just kept reinforcing with them that I haven’t been asked to do anything,” she said in an interview Dec. 16. The congratulations were premature.
“That’s ultimately the president-elect’s decision to make,” McMorris Rodgers told the Capital Press.
Asked if she would consider secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or any other jobs in Trump’s cabinet, McMorris Rodgers said she hasn’t been contacted further.
Idaho Gov. Butch Otter is said to be among the front-runners for the USDA job.
The Wall Street Journal reported Dec. 16 that McMorris Rodgers was a front-runner until the president-elect’s son, Donald Trump Jr., suggested Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke. Trump intends to appoint Zinke to the Interior position, his transition team confirmed this week.
McMorris Rodgers said she’d let the article speak for itself.
“I walked away energized more than ever that he’s a man of action,” she said of Trump. “This is somebody who is really challenging us to rethink the way these agencies are structured, the way the federal government functions and to focus on working men and women in this country. (He) is going to improve opportunities and grow our economy.”
McMorris Rodgers called Zinke “a great choice” and welcomed a fellow Westerner in the job.
“Clearly this is an agency that has a huge impact on our way of life and our economy in Eastern Washington,” she said. “Rep. Zinke being from Montana and a Navy Seal -- I think it’s the perfect mix of perspective and leadership that is needed in a position as large as the Interior secretary.”
McMorris Rodgers said she will continue to work on Interior matters, including those involving the Columbia River, Indian affairs and better forest management.
“I am concerned that so often when the federal government purchases land or owns land, they put up barriers to access, whether it is for outdoor recreation, grazing or any kind of activity,” she said. “I’m going to continue to be very active in a way that is going to ensure these agencies are responding to the people of Eastern Washington.”
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