Top Trump official levels extraordinary personal attack on the Democrat set to be in charge of investigating him: "It's hard for him to think straight from the bottom of the bottle"
- Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke slammed Democratic Rep. Raúl Grijalva as a drunk over threats to probe his department when Democrats take the House majority in January.
- Grijalva is the likely incoming chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee and called for Zinke's resignation in an op-ed.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke slammed a Democratic congressman as a problem drinker on Friday in response to an op-ed calling for his resignation.
Arizona Rep. Raúl Grijalva, who is slated to serve as the next chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee when the 116th Congress convenes in January, wrote an op-ed for USA Today outlining why he believes Zinke is unfit to helm the Department of the Interior.
"Ryan Zinke needs to resign immediately as Secretary of the Interior," he wrote. "I take no pleasure in calling for this step, and I have resisted it even as questions have grown about Mr. Zinke's ethical and managerial failings. Unfortunately, his conduct in office and President Donald Trump's neglect in setting ethical standards for his own cabinet have made it unavoidable."
Grijalva also pledged to vigorously investigate and probe Zinke's department in the new year.
"As ranking member, I have sent dozens of unanswered letters seeking information about Interior Department policies and Mr. Zinke's conduct," he wrote. "Should I chair the committee in January, as I hope to do, those questions will only intensify as part of my and my colleagues' legitimate oversight duties. If Mr. Zinke stays, stonewalling in the belief that a cabinet secretary answers only to Trump would be a mistake."
Zinke responded by leveling a shot at Grijalva in a statement on Friday.
"It's hard for him to think straight from the bottom of the bottle," Zinke said in the statement. "This is coming from a man who used nearly $50,000 in tax dollars as hush money to cover up his drunken and hostile behavior. He should resign and pay back the taxpayer for the hush money and the tens of thousands of dollars he forced my department to spend investigating unfounded allegations."
The statement made reference to a $50,000 settlement reported last year, in which Grijalva paid off a former staffer after allegations that he was routinely drunk and created a hostile work environment.
Zinke also used the hashtag #TuneInnForMore when posting the statement to Twitter. The Tune Inn is small tavern on Pennsylvania Ave. just west of the US Capitol, which Grijalva frequents.
During his tenure in Congress before joining the Trump administration, Zinke had served on the Natural Resources Committee with Grijalva.