Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead said he has no regrets about withdrawing his name from consideration for Interior Secretary in the Trump administration last year.
In an interview with the Star-Tribune, Mead said that in addition to a number of standard considerations, such as not wanting to relocate his family to Washington, D.C., he was also concerned about handling potential policy differences with President Donald Trump.
“I have some disagreements with President Trump and I’m sure in Interior ... I would feel strongly about certain areas and I don’t know how — trying to watch it from afar — how that works out when those disagreements come up,” Mead said.
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Mead, a Republican, broke with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s comments on sage grouse protections last week. Mead said that science, not politics, needed to lead federal policy and that Zinke’s focus on sage grouse population targets — rather than on maintaining habitat for the vulnerable bird species — was worrisome.
Mead was contacted by Trump transition officials last fall about whether he was interested in the Interior job and acknowledged that it was far from certain he would have been offered the job if had been kept his name in the running.
“I have not regretted that even an instant,” he said.
Trump eventually selected Zinke, a Republican and Montana’s sole U.S. House representative.
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In the Wednesday interview, Mead reiterated some of the same points he made when first announcing that he’d taken himself out of consideration of the position: his family is settled in Wyoming and he feels obligated to finish his term as governor.
“I enjoy the privilege of being governor,” Mead said. “I made the right choice.”