Trump’s Interior Secretary just pledged to take a "zero tolerance" approach to sexual harassment. Does that apply to his boss?
In the midst of a nationwide revolution of women standing up to powerful men in media, entertainment, and politics who have harassed or abused them, many workplaces are scrambling to address sexual misconduct in their midst — and the federal government is no exception.
The latest example comes from the Department of Interior, where, according to a new survey, 35 percent of employees were harassed or discriminated against at work in the past year. That figure dovetails with an October 2017 report released by the Interior Department, which found that 40 percent of National Park Service employees reported having been harassed in the previous 12 months.
Responding to the startling findings, Trump’s Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke — notable destroyer of national monuments and frequent flier on Billionaire Air — said on Thursday that he has already fired “a number of predators,” and then touted his “zero tolerance” approach to workplace harassment.
“From day one, I made it clear that I have zero tolerance for any type of workplace harassment, and I have directed leadership across the entire Department to move rapidly to improve accountability and transparency with regard to this absolutely intolerable behavior,” Zinke said, according to CNN.
“All employees have the right to work in a safe and harassment-free environment,” he added. “I’ve already fired a number of predators who other administrations were too afraid to remove or just turned a blind eye to. Under my leadership we don’t protect predators. When I say ‘zero tolerance’ I mean that these people will be held accountable for their abhorrent actions.”
If Zinke is really going to take a zero tolerance approach to sexual harassment and hold people accountable for their actions, perhaps he should start by focusing his efforts on his boss — the one who openly boasted on tape about forcing himself on women.
In addition to nearly two dozen allegations of harrassment and assault — the most recent of which emerged last week — Trump and his companies have been accused in at least 20 separate lawsuits of “discriminating against women, ignoring sexual harassment complaints and even participating in the harassment themselves.”
Zinke talks a tough game. But at the end of the day, we cannot truly fix a discriminatory culture in government and society at large, while simultaneously tolerating a president who embodies that discrimination in all its ignobility.
If Zinke is sincere about his “zero tolerance” policy, he should address the problem where it starts — at the very top.