Zinke Didn't Like an Op-Ed on Him. Things Got Personal

Interior secretary accuses Rep. Raul Grijalva of alcohol abuse, using tax dollars as 'hush money'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 30, 2018 1:43 PM CST
Zinke Didn't Like an Op-Ed on Him. Things Got Personal
In this May 10, 2018, file photo, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke arrives for a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

A scathing opinion piece on Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, penned by a Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee and published Friday by USA Today, has caught Zinke's attention—and he's offering some eyebrow-raising "thoughts" of his own online. The op-ed by Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva asked for Zinke to resign from his post because of his "ethical and managerial failings," a request Grijalva said gave him "no pleasure" to make. Grijalva cites at least 17 known probes into Zinke or his staff and accuses Zinke of being "embroiled in scandals and nepotism," as well as stonewalling on these allegations. Grijalva also warned that he plans on turning up the heat on Zinke when he likely becomes the panel's chairman in January, promising that "questions will only intensify as part of my and my colleagues' legitimate oversight duties."

Zinke's response on Twitter: to accuse Grijalva of alcohol abuse and secret payments. "It's hard for him to think straight from the bottom of a bottle," Zinke tweeted Friday afternoon, calling Grijalva "a man who used nearly $50,000 in tax dollars as hush money to cover up his drunken and hostile behavior." Zinke then asked Grijalva himself to resign, using a hashtag #TuneInnForMore. That hashtag apparently references the Tune Inn, a popular DC bar. The Washington Post notes that Grijalva at one time "was known to be a drinker," and that he'd acknowledged earlier this year he'd had a drinking problem that was now under control. Grijalva's short retort to Zinke's smear: "Instead of addressing the substantive issues raised in this morning's op-ed, he's resorting to personal attacks." (More Ryan Zinke stories.)

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