Call it a tale of two sound bites.
Colorado Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner’s office sent a press release to the news media this afternoon announcing the junior senator’s scheduled introduction Thursday of Coloradan David Bernhardt at his confirmation hearing for deputy secretary of the interior. It’s a formality and a show of same-state pride and support for a fellow native son in front of the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
Alongside it but a world apart: a fusillade of denunciations for the same nomination from a host of environmental groups.
As reported today by the Washington Examiner in the ramp-up to the hearing:
More than 100 environmental groups began an eleventh-hour push Wednesday to block President Trump’s pick for Interior Department deputy secretary, an agency veteran from the George W. Bush administration.
The groups sent a letter to all senators asking that they not support the nomination of David Bernhardt ahead of Thursday’s confirmation hearing in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
“Bernhardt has been called a ‘walking conflict of interest’ for good reason. He represents everything that’s wrong with the Trump administration and the revolving door of politics,” said Randi Spivak with the Center for Biological Diversity, a national conservation group that signed onto the letter.
Bernhardt, nominated in April to serve as deputy to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, is a career natural-resources lawyer in the nation’s Capital who also previously served in several posts at the Interior Department during the George W. Bush administration. As an attorney in private practice for the Denver-based, national law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, he has represented energy, mining and other industries that have the environmental movement on red alert.
He also enjoys hunting, as illustrated in the above photo posted by the Interior Department during his previous stint there.
He is a Rifle native who now lives in suburban Washington, D.C.
The hearing promises to be (another) face-off between the committee’s minority Democrats and the Trump administration. It begins Thursday at 8 a.m. Mountain Time.
Courtesy of Gardner’s office, here’s the link to the live webcast.