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Ryan Zinke’s oil lobbyist deputy likely to replace him at Interior — but environmentalists say he’s ‘even worse’

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U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke swears in David Bernhardt as the agency's deputy secretary in August. Image via Creative Commons/Department of the Interior.

Newly-resigned Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s “man behind the curtain” is likely to become his replacement — and is loved by Donald Trump and loathed by environmentalists.

Politico reported that David Bernhardt, the deputy interior secretary and a former oil, gas and water industry lobbyist, is likely to be named acting Interior secretary.

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This move is “already alarming environmentalists,” the report noted, “some of whom had said they might prefer to see a distracted, scandal-plagued Zinke stay in the job.”

Chris Saeger, the executive director for the conservation group Western Values Project, told Politico that “Bernhardt is too conflicted to even be acting secretary.”

“At the very least the American public deserves to know more about the man behind the curtain who is actually running the show at Interior and could soon be fully responsible for managing our country’s public lands, wildlife and natural resources,” Saeger, whose group sued in July for Bernhardt’s communications, said.

In a statement released after Donald Trump announced via tweet that Zinke is leaving the administration, the Alaska Wilderness League claimed that “if Ryan Zinke was bad, his likely replacement, David Bernhardt, is even worse.”

A source close to the administration said that Bernhardt may end up in the role permanently because Trump “has been happy with his effectiveness in running the bulk of the agency on Zinke’s watch.”

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The same source said it may be too “problematic” for Trump to find someone else to run Interior with all the other high-profile vacancies in the administration.

The report noted that because Bernhardt has already been confirmed by the Senate for his role as deputy Interior secretary, choosing him “would be the path of least resistance” for Trump.

Read the entire report via Politico.

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2020 Election

Lincoln Project whacks the president: ‘We end COVID when we end Trump’s presidency’

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President Donald Trump on Thursday held a campaign rally in Wisconsin with supporters "packed in like sardines."

At the rally, Trump ridiculed former Vice President Joe Biden for social distancing at campaign appearances with America's death toll over 200,000. Also on Thursday, Biden held a town hall meeting on CNN where he spoke in-depth about the challenges of a coronavirus vaccine.

The Lincoln Project, the group of former top GOP strategists working to defeat Trump, said that "only one candidate will protect your family from coronavirus" in a new video.

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Trump said he would give UN speech despite pandemic — but reversed course and won’t be attending

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US President Donald Trump will not attend next week's UN General Assembly gathering in person, his chief of staff told journalists aboard Air Force One Thursday, according to a pool report.

The decision marks an about-face for Trump, who last month said he wanted to deliver his speech in the General Assembly hall in New York, even if other world leaders are staying away due to the coronavirus pandemic.

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows ended the debate once and for all, telling reporters en route to Wisconsin, where Trump was to hold a campaign rally, that the president would not physically attend the General Assembly's 75th session, which will take place mainly by videoconference due to the health crisis.

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2020 Election

Trump mocked for 95-minute ‘slurring’ campaign speech — before crowd ‘packed in like sardines’ in Wisconsin

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President Donald Trump gave a fear-filled and factually inaccurate campaign rally in Mosinee, Wisconsin on Thursday.

The rally, held in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, featured a large crowd closely packed together.

Here's some of what people were saying about Trump's speech, which lasted approximately 95 minutes:

https://twitter.com/RSBNetwork/status/1306433275381116928

https://twitter.com/bad_takes/status/1306758848577966081

Trump is slurring and sounds tired pic.twitter.com/6MJLw2fpms

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