WASHINGTON – Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke blasted Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Tucson, on Twitter Friday after the congressman wrote an editorial calling on Zinke to resign “immediately” in the face of multiple, ongoing ethics investigations.
Grijalva, long a critic of Zinke’s and of his management of the Interior Department, said in the op-ed in Friday’s USA Today that the “sheer scope of his (Zinke’s) well-documented scandals” demand that the secretary resign.
Those include at least one inspector general’s investigation that has been referred to the Justice Department for possible prosecution, Grijalva said.
Zinke, in a blistering personal Twitter attack, said several hours later that it was Grijalva who should step down.
The tweet said Grijalva can’t “think straight from the bottom of the bottle” and that the lawmaker should resign and pay back the “hush money and the tens of thousands” of dollars that Interior has spent “investigating unfounded allegations” from Congress.
— Secretary Ryan Zinke (@SecretaryZinke) November 30, 2018
The tweet appeared to be a reference to news reports of a $48,000 settlement Grijalva reportedly paid a former staffer in 2015, who accused the Tucson Democrat of being drunk at work and creating a hostile work environment.
Zinke’s attack was leveled at a man who is expected to become chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee next year, the panel with direct oversight of the Interior Department.
Even before the tweeted response, Grijalva vowed the committee would be taking a closer look at Zinke and his department once Democrats take over the House next year.
“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,” Grijalva wrote.