Many hailed Trump’s appointment of Secretary Zinke to lead the Department of the Interior as savvy move that put a man from the American West in charge of an agency that oversees our nation’s most precious lands and monuments. Zinke was pegged as a moderate from a rural state with small town values that reflected the work needed to lead this important agency. Values of respect, honesty, and fiscal responsibility with taxpayer dollars.
But since he has moved to the swamp and taken up residence in the administration, Zinke has been anything but respectful, honest, or responsible with taxpayer dollars.
Yesterday, it came out that Secretary Zinke spent over $14,000 on two helicopters trips to political or non-official events. This comes on the heels of the Department of the Interior’s Inspector General investigating Zinke for his other political joy rides on taxpayer-funded chartered flights to Montana and Las Vegas.
Zinke wanted to be at the swearing in ceremony of disgraced political ally Greg Gianfote so he spent $8,000 taxpayer dollars on one helicopter ride from D.C. Zinke chose to support his disgraced political ally Greg Gianforte at a meaningless swearing-in ceremony instead of doing his job and saving Americans money.
Zinke also spent nearly $6,000 on a helicopter flight to Yorktown, VA to ride horses with Vice President Mike Pence. Why not just carpool with the VP to go play cowboy?
The irony of this situation is that Gianforte and the Montana Republican Party made taxpayer-funded air travel by an elected official the pillar of Gianforte’s failed run for governor. They made so much hay over this issue, that Gianforte vowed to sell the Governor’s plane, and charter all flights if he was elected. We now know that Gianforte wanted to have his own private jets charted and have the taxpayers pay him for using his own plane, sounds like a nice GOP scam.
Beneath the typical hypocrisy of Zinke, Gianforte, and Montana Republicans over aircraft use is actually their truly cynical views on elected office. Republicans believe they need to get theirs, at all costs, as quickly as they can, despite the expense or damage it will cause others. This is because they feel they are entitled to it. They won the office, they made more money than you, they deserve it more than you, they are obviously better than you.
This cynical view of public service that Zinke and Gianforte have is they do not run for office to humbly serve the people of this state or nation, they run to serve themselves. Public office or a federal appointment is just another check on their corporate resume, the next step to gain more wealth, contacts, or favors. Serving is not to help better your life, it is to better theirs.
Interior spokeswoman Heather Swift said in an email, “The swearing in of the Congressman is absolutely an official event, as is emergency management training. Shame on you for not respecting the office of a Member of Congress.”
Shame on us? Why must we be shamed when the very act of swearing in Gianforte was disrespectful towards the institution of Congress and all who humbly serve there. The day Gianforte was sworn into office was a shameful day for every member of Congress as well as the people of Montana. No one should have attended this event, especially when it cost the taxpayers $8,000 for Zinke to chopper in.
So, shame on you Zinke and Gianforte. Shame on you for making Montanans look like a bunch of yokels who are irresponsible at best, dangerous at worst. That’s not Montana and these two don’t represent Montanans with their dangerous and fiscally irresponsible and immoral behavior.