Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar allegedly threatened to punch a reporter for the Colorado Springs Gazette on Election Day, one witness said.
Reporter Dave Philipps had attempted to ask Salazar about wild horses purchased from the Bureau of Land Management amid a gathering of Obama supporters in Fountain, Colorado. A man in southern Colorado is currently under investigation for allegedly buying more than 1,700 wild horses from government holding facilities and sending them to Mexican slaughterhouses. Philipps reported on the story in September.
After Salazar commented on the safety of wild horses, he unexpectedly approached Phillips and told him, “If you set me up like this again, I’ll punch you out,” according to Ginger Kathrens of the the Cloud Foundation. The foundation is dedicated to protecting wild horses and issued a statement regarding the incident on Tuesday.
"These threats would have been inappropriate coming from anyone, but the fact that it came out of the mouth of the Secretary of the Interior is alarming," Kathrens said. "I can’t believe that a top official in Obama’s cabinet could be so defensive."
The Cloud Foundation has been critical of Salazar for rounding up wild horses instead of letting them roam free. Salazar said rounding up the wild horses was necessary to prevent them from overpopulating and harming the ecosystem.
An Interior spokesman told Politico that Salazar regrets the exchange.
[Image via U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Norfolk District, Creative Commons licensed]