Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has engaged in a war of words with Arizona Democratic Rep. Raúl Grijalva, who called for Zinke’s resignation on Friday. Zinke responded by ripping into Grijalva in a Twitter post. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
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Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke accused Arizona Democratic Rep. Raul Grijalva of past “drunken and hostile behavior” Friday after the lawmaker called for Zinke’s resignation.
Zinke ripped into Grijalva in a Twitter post that apparently came in response to a USA Today op-ed written by Grijalva on Friday. The headline read: “Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke must resign. His multiple scandals show he's unfit to serve.”
“It is hard for him to think straight from the bottom of the bottle,” Zinke wrote about Grijalva on Twitter. “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 taxpayers for the hush money and the tens of thousands of dollars he forced my department to spend investigating unfounded allegations.”
Zinke also wrote on Twitter “#TuneInnForMore,” apparently referring to the popular Capitol Hill bar Tune Inn, which Grijalva reportedly frequents.
An unnamed former congressional aide threatened a lawsuit against Grijalva by accusing him of being "frequently drunk and fostering a hostile work environment," Fox News reported.
The House Employment Counsel negotiated a $48,395 severance, about five months additional salary for the aide, the report states. The former staffer who accused Grijalva reportedly worked with him for three months and dropped the complaint following the settlement, the Washington Times reported.
“Ryan Zinke needs to resign immediately as Secretary of the Interior,” Grijalva wrote in the op-ed piece. “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 is the ranking member of the House Committee on Natural Resources. He is also hoping to become chairman when Democrats retake the majority in January.
Grijalva has previously questioned Zinke about his role in a land development project in Zinke’s hometown of Whitefish, Montana, Fox News reported.
On Friday, Grijalva wrote that his “scrutiny will only intensify if I'm chairman.”
“As ranking member, I have sent dozens of unanswered letters seeking information about Interior Department policies and Mr. Zinke’s conduct,” he stated. “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.”
Zinke told Fox News he is above board.
“I am 10 for 10,” Zinke told the news outlet. “I’ve been investigated on my socks. I’ve been investigated for taking jets, which I don’t. I’ve had 10 investigations completed and you know what they all say? Ryan Zinke follows all the rules, all the regulations, all the procedures.”
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