Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke Endorses Trump for President

Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.) touted President Donald Trump’s track record of peace in the Middle East and energy independence.
Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke Endorses Trump for President
Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke speaks during CPAC 2018 in National Harbor, Md., on Feb. 23, 2018. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)
Lorenz Duchamps

Former President Donald Trump has received the endorsement of Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.) for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

“There is no doubt that President Trump is our nation’s best hope to restore our global leadership, secure our borders, and improve the quality of life of every American,” Mr. Zink said in a Nov. 28 statement on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“His proven track record of peace in the Middle East, energy independence, and putting America First are unparalleled,” he added. “I look forward to working hard everyday to defeat Biden and the liberal radicals who empower him to weaken America.”

President Trump, the GOP front-runner in national polls, continues to dominate the field in early endorsements.

To date, he has picked up at least 129 noteworthy endorsements, including from 83 U.S. House members, 13 U.S. Senators, and seven governors, according to Ballotpedia’s endorsement tracker.

As a comparison, President Joe Biden had 43 noteworthy endorsements at this point in the 2020 Democratic primary, including from 20 members of the U.S. House Representatives.

Zinke’s History With Trump

Mr. Zinke, a former U.S. Navy Seal, was Montana’s sole member in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2015 to 2017.
The Montana Republican returned to Congress in 2023 after winning a contested race to represent Montana’s 1st Congressional District, a newly awarded U.S. House seat.

Mr. Zinke, who says he maintains a friendship with President Trump, was endorsed by the former commander-in-chief when he was running for the newly minted western congressional district during the 2022 midterm elections.

“Under Ryan Zinke’s leadership at the Department of the Interior, the U.S. achieved Energy Dominance, increased federal energy revenues, and responsibly opened federal acreage for energy production,” President Trump said in a statement at the time.

“He was instrumental in expanding public access to public lands for recreation and rebuilding our National Parks and Forests infrastructure,” he added.

In early 2017, Mr. Zinke became the first U.S. Navy Seal to occupy a Cabinet position when President Trump appointed him to head the U.S. Department of the Interior.

During his time overseeing the agency tasked with managing the federal government’s 500 million acres of public lands, Mr. Zinke loosened environmental restrictions on oil and gas development and mining, while also promoting the creation of wildlife migration corridors and opposing mines near Yellowstone National Park.

Although Mr. Zinke’s rollbacks of restrictions on oil and gas drilling were cheered by the industry, they brought a scathing backlash from environmental groups and Democrats, who accused him of putting corporate profits ahead of preservation.

Mr. Zinke’s last months at the U.S. Department of the Interior were marked by increasing numbers of investigations into his conduct, which he said were politically motivated.

Some of the investigations concluded with no findings of wrongdoing, but a February 2022 report from the Interior Department’s inspector general accused him of ethical breaches and misuse of his office to advance a commercial development project through a nonprofit foundation that included a microbrewery in his Montana hometown.

The Interior Department’s inspector general also found in 2018 that Mr. Zinke violated travel policies when he took his wife, Lolita, in government vehicles. In 2019, the Office of Special Counsel said he violated a ban on federal employees engaging in political activity when he posted a picture on social media of himself wearing socks with President Trump’s campaign slogan.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.