The first Montanan to announce he would seek the newly opened seat in the U.S. House of Representatives appeared on the Thursday KGVO Montana Morning News program.

Former Congressman and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke opened the conversation by addressing the deep divide between the right and the left in America.

“I think the biggest threat facing the country is not Russia, China or even Iran,” said Zinke. “It's the division within this country, and as much as I disdain Washington, D.C. I love my country. This is fixable, but we're going to have to work together to do it and within the framework of the Constitution. What's happening now you see is a lot of frustration. They're going after the Constitution by eroding everything that I believe in.”

Zinke, referencing a previous KGVO interview in which fellow GOP House candidate Dr. Al Olszewski said was directly seeking the endorsement of former President Trump, said he has the former President’s full support.

“I'm highly motivated, we're going to win,” he said. “Obviously the President's behind me and he gave me his total and complete endorsement. I don't think that leaves a lot of wiggle room, especially not with President Trump. I believe it's fixable, and when I was in (the) Interior (Department), everyone said there's no way that you can become energy dominant. We were at 8.3 million barrels a day and declining after two years, but when we left we were the number one energy exporter in the world.”

Zinke was asked about his view of the proposed commission to study the January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol building.

“It's hard to say it's a insurrection when you have gentleman in a Viking hat dressed in animal skins, so it's hard for me to say it was an insurrection. Was it riotous? Yes. Criminal? Yes. Was it destruction of government property? Absolutely.”

After serving under President Trump as his Secretary of the Interior, Zinke was asked about the nomination of Missoula native Tracy Stone-Manning to head the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

“You can be an environmental radical,” he said. “You can be a tree spiker, you can be an eco terrorist and somehow that's okay. But if you're a rancher that follows all the rules, especially on BLM property, I think that's an important perspective. So, you know,  it just goes to what DC has become.”

Dr. Al Olszewski is the other Republican running for the open House seat, while three Democrats are vying for the seat, Monica Tranel, Laurie Bishop and Cora Neumann.


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