Donald Trump said Saturday that his interior secretary will be leaving soon -- the latest in a series of high-profile departures from an administration beset by turnover and alleged ethical failings.
Zinke's exit will remove the distraction of the ethical issues that have dogged him -- and that reportedly have annoyed Trump -- but is unlikely to mark a shift away from the concerted environmental deregulation that took place during the secretary's tenure at the Interior Department.
"Secretary of the Interior @RyanZinke will be leaving the Administration at the end of the year after having served for a period of almost two years," Trump wrote on Twitter, highlighting the fact that Zinke's tenure was substantially longer than that of some other former top officials in the administration.
"Ryan has accomplished much during his tenure and I want to thank him for his service to our Nation," the president said, adding that a replacement would be announced next week.
The interior secretary is responsible for overseeing conservation and mineral extraction on public land that, if stitched together, would be larger than Mexico.
Along with Trump's first environmental protection chief Scott Pruitt -- who resigned in July amid a series of scandals over ethical lapses and lavish spending -- Zinke helped spearhead a presidential push to sharply relax environmental regulations and expand energy production.