Trump taps acting Interior Secretary for promotion

Trump taps acting Interior Secretary for promotion

President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt placed a wreath at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C. on 1/21/19 (Pool photo: Steven Portnoy- CBS)

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump tapped acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt Monday to formally head the Department.

The move comes over a month after Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke stepped down from his position amid a cloud of ethics concerns.

Bernhardt, who was previously Zinke’s top deputy, is one of three acting secretaries in the president’s cabinet, a list that includes acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker.

Also within the president’s orbit are acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and acting Environmental Protection Agency Director Andrew Wheeler.

Wheeler has been nominated as director, but has not yet been confirmed. Whitaker is expected to be replaced by nominee William Barr, who also is waiting to be confirmed.

Trump’s reliance on acting members of his team came into question over the weekend.

In a CBS interview that aired Sunday prior to the Superbowl, the president said that having acting secretaries “gives me more flexibility.”

“It’s easier to make moves when they’re acting,” Trump said.

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