Interior Secretary Gets Imperial With His Flag

By on October 16, 2017

The Narcissist-in-Chief in the White House may have some competition on that front from one of his cabinet members. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has the secretary’s flag raised on a pole atop the department’s Washington, D.C. building whenever he is at the office. And lowered when he leaves.

No other member of the cabinet engages in such a ritual. Even Trump doesn’t have the presidential flag raised or lowered to indicate if he is at the White House.

Zinke’s Press Secretary Heather Swift responded to an inquiry about it from The Washington Post to say that flying the flag is “a major sign of transparency.” Just what it reveals seems opaque.

“Ryan Zinke is proud and honored to lead the Department of the Interior, and is restoring honor and tradition to the department,” she continued, “whether it’s flying the flag when he is in garrison” – garrison? – “or restoring traditional access to public lands,”

He’s also so proud and honored by his position as well that “[h]e has commissioned commemorative coins with his name on them to give to staff and visitors, but the cost to taxpayers is unclear.” the Post reports. “Zinke’s predecessors and some other Cabinet secretaries have coins bearing agency seals, but not personalized ones.”

Zinke ruffled feathers a among his department’s workers a while back when he claimed that 30 percent of its 70,000 employees are “not loyal to the flag.” It now becomes unclear if he meant the American flag or his own banner.

Lady Liberty Flag and Flagpole in Austin, TX is a major vendor of flags to federal agencies. But a company spokesperson said, “I haven’t sold any of those individual secretarial flags to any agency in forever.”

Zinke is one of five cabinet secretaries under investigation for possible abuse of travel funds, in his case hiring private jets for trips that possibly mixed official business with pleasure and political activities. He said any questions on the matter are “complete and utter bullshit.”

“If we had a secretarial flag at the Obama Labor Department, we never bothered to locate it or use it,” said Chris Lu, Deputy Labor Secretary under President Obama. “We’re talking about Cabinet members and federal buildings, not the Queen of England and Buckingham Palace.”