President Trump’s Cabinet Secretary Ryan Zinke just told employees that diversity isn’t important. He wasn’t even shy about it.
This isn’t just something he said once, either.
Three high-ranking interior officials have told CNN that Zinke has made several comments along the lines of: “diversity isn’t important,” or “I don’t care about diversity,” or I don’t really think that’s important anymore.”
“(Zinke) flat out said, ‘I don’t really think that’s important anymore. We don’t need to focus on that anymore.’ He obviously needed someone to provide him with better talking points,” the staffer said.
“That told me everything I needed to know,” the person said. “It’s a hard business as it is, and then not to be respected or appreciated for the diverse perspective that you bring to the situation — and that’s why it’s important in my opinion. It’s the fact that we don’t look at things the same way. When we have conversations about public lands and how they’re used, we cannot afford to have a small percentage of people making those decisions.”
Currently, 70% of the Interior Department’s 68,000 are white.
Last year, Zinke unexpectedly reassigned 33 senior executive staffers, with a much larger percentage of the transfers being non-white, even though they represent a smaller pool of employee population. Since that time many have filed complaints with the US Merit Systems Board.
Here’s a little fact: Out of seven of the 12 divisions at the Interior, none have minority leaders in the senior executive staff. That’s alarming.
There are also some other shady things going on: Zinke tried to send policy expert Joel Clement to Alaska on reassignment after he blew the whistle on climate change data. He thinks the reassignments are illegal and quit rather than be forced to move so far away.