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The top contenders to replace Ryan Zinke as interior secretary



Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is set to leave the Trump administration at the end of 2018, marking yet another departure from a tumultuous White House that seemingly has a revolving door.

Zinke is leaving amid mounting pressure from ethics inquiries into his dubious spending habits and political activities.

President Donald Trump has at times struggled to find replacements for top administration officials who’ve resigned, been fired, or reassigned. This has been evident recently in the administration’s embarrassing struggle to attract a new chief of staff to fill John Kelly’s shoes.

But the president appears to have a longer list of potential replacements for Zinke.

Read more: Embattled Interior Department secretary Ryan Zinke is stepping down

David Bernhardt, who currently serves as Zinke’s deputy, is reportedly expected to take over as acting head of the department in the new year.

According to Bloomberg, which broke the news of Zinke’s impending departure, other possible replacements include: former Rep. Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming; Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes; Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt; Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter; former Nevada Sen. Dean Heller; Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state; and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

Trump on Saturday morning tweeted the White House would announce Zinke’s replacement in the coming week.

Read more: How the Trump administration looked at the end of 2017 and how it looks at the end of 2018

“Secretary of the Interior @RyanZinke will be leaving the Administration at the end of the year after having served for a period of almost two years,” Trump said. “Ryan has accomplished much during his tenure and I want to thank him for his service to our Nation.”

Whoever takes over for Zinke will be in charge of an agency with 70,000 employees that oversees the federal lands that make up roughly 20% of the US and manages the country’s natural resources.

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