Rep. Rob Bishop spoke with White House officials shortly before Christmas about what priorities the new Interior Secretary should have, but Bishop insists the conversation was not a job interview.
E&E Daily reports Bishop held a 30-minute phone conversation with the White House about the job opening. Bishop has been mentioned as a possible replacement for Ryan Zinke since he resigned in December. For his part, Bishop insists he does not expect to be nominated for the job.
“It could easily be a ‘check the box so he does not bitch,’ it could be that way,” Bishop said when asked why he thought the White House reached out to him for his thoughts on the opening. “I am not holding my breath.”
He said the call was not with Trump or Vice President Mike Pence, but the Utahn declined to say with whom he spoke from the White House.
“What I said was there are a lot of initiatives Zinke started they need to go forward,” said Bishop.
The congressman said he highlighted the need to address the maintenance backlog at national parks, move ahead with the proposed Interior Department reorganization, and rewrite a memorandum between the Interior and Homeland Security departments on border security.
Bishop said he doesn’t see the need for the White House to rush finding a permanent replacement for Zinke.
Both Bishop and Attorney General Sean Reyes have been mentioned in connection with the Interior Department opening.