Donald Trump picks waterboarding advocate Ryan Zinke as interior secretary

When asked whether he favored the use of torture and waterboarding, the retired Navy SEAL commander and congressman from Montana said: 'It’s a balancing act'

Rachael Revesz
New York
Tuesday 13 December 2016 23:11 GMT
Mr Zinke is on the transition team for military veteran issues
Mr Zinke is on the transition team for military veteran issues

Donald Trump has offered the role of interior secretary to retired Navy Seal commander and Montana congressman Ryan Zinke.

Mr Zinke has not officially accepted the role. The appointment would hand responsibility over agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service.

He was a big supporter of the president-elect, joining him on the campaign trail alongside his wife, Lola, and who are both members of the transition team dealing with military veterans’ issues.

When asked on CNN about whether he supported the use of waterboarding on a potential suspect, he replied it was "a balancing act".

"But if there’s an individual that has knowledge that would save, say, New York City from destruction - the entire city - personally there’s nothing I wouldn’t do to make sure I had that information if I knew that information the individual had it. So it’s a balancing act."

Mr Zinke is being discussed as a possible 2018 candidate for the state’s senate, a seat that is currently held by Democrat senator Jon Tester.

Donald Trump's controversial cabinet

He recently defended Mr Trump’s selection of James "Mad Dog" Mattis as defense secretary, who was accused several years ago of saying it was "fun" to shoot people. Mr Zinke served alongside Mr Mattis in Fallujah in 2004.

"He's the most reluctant to go to war, but knows that if you go to war, you go to war to win," he said to CNN.

Mr Zinke has also spoken about fighting the epidemic of meth in his state. He said the way to fight the issue was to strengthen southern border security, joining Mr Trump’s view that Mexico was the main culprit in the fight against drugs.

"Mexico is where the proponents of where the drugs are coming from," he told congress in September.

"We know how we can stop it, we can shut it down and we can secure our southern border."

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in