Menendez: I’m Concerned Interior Dept ‘One of Many’ Where Diversity ‘Not in Effect’

On Monday’s broadcast of CNN’s “OutFront,” Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) responded to a report that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told employees that diversity isn’t important by stating he is worried that the Interior Department “is one of many elements of the Cabinet where diversity is not only not important, but it’s not in effect, and if anything, diverse and excellent members of those departments increasingly seem to either be let go or pushed aside to a lower position.”

Menendez said, “Well, look, diversity doesn’t come at the sacrifice of quality and the best people. On the contrary, we can find some of the best people in the nation from diverse communities, whether that diversity is ethnically, racially, or otherwise. The problem is is that Zinke is clearly on a path in which, I think, we’re going to have increasingly, a lily-white Department of the Interior. So, I’m really concerned that this is one of many elements of the Cabinet where diversity is not only not important, but it’s not in effect, and if anything, diverse and excellent members of those departments increasingly seem to either be let go or pushed aside to a lower position. So, it’s a real challenge, because the nation needs to, in its departments of the interior, and for that fact, every federal department looks to — needs to look like the United States of America. And we can do that with the highest quality. We don’t have to sacrifice quality in order to achieve diversity. And that’s where the secretary is absolutely wrong.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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