US interior secretary Ryan Zinke to leave Trump administration, replacement to be announced next week

Washington: Donald Trump said Saturday that his interior secretary will be leaving soon — the latest in a series of high-profile departures from the US president's turnover-plagued administration.

Highlighting the fact that Zinke's tenure was substantially longer than that of some other former top officials in the administration, Trump wrote on Twitter:

The announcement on Zinke came just a week after another impending high-profile departure — that of Trump's chief of staff John Kelly — was made public. Trump on Friday tapped Mick Mulvaney — the director of the Office of Management and Budget — to fill the chief of staff job on an acting basis, setting him up to be the third person to hold the post since the president took office in early 2017.

A series of other top officials have left the Trump White House, including a secretary of state, two national security advisors, an attorney general and the head of the US environment agency.

Zinke is one of several members of Trump's cabinet to come under fire over expenditures, including reports that his department was spending nearly $139,000 to upgrade three sets of double doors in his office — a cost he later said he negotiated down to $75,000.

He has also faced criticism over costly US Park Police helicopter flights last year that allowed him to return to Washington for a horseback ride with Vice President Mike Pence, and several other flights on non-commercial aircraft.

Updated Date: Dec 16, 2018 08:45:52 IST