Former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke quotes Teddy Roosevelt in campaign ad, amid fury over statues

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Former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke quotes former President Theodore Roosevelt in a new ad as he seeks to win the Republican nomination for Montana’s new congressional seat – defending the former president and advocate for the environment just as his statue was removed from a place of honor in New York City.

In the ad, Zinke quotes Roosevelt’s speech at the Sorbonne, Paris in 1910 – often referred to as the “man in the arena” speech.

“It is not the critic who counts, not the man who shows how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better,” Roosevelt said in the famous speech.

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“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is stained with dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs, who fails again and again, for he does not There is no effort without error and without fault, but who really strives to accomplish the deeds, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a noble cause, who at best knows in the end the triumphs over a high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails by daring much, so that his place will never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

In an interview with Fox News Digital, Zinke said the former president’s promotion of “Americanism” was relevant at a time when Americans are deeply divided along partisan lines.

“Today, I think today we need another period of Americanism. When the country is so divided, I think we have to rise up on the basis of what an American is, to both our character and our measures,” he said.

“It’s good to dare to be big,” he said. “We shouldn’t be satisfied with America being second best. We shouldn’t be satisfied with an economy that is beholden to foreign interests over supply chains, etc.”

Zinke once touted Roosevelt when he was President Donald Trump’s Interior Secretary. Roosevelt’s love of public lands and conservation is likely to be a theme that resonates with voters in the district Zinke seeks to represent, where there is plenty of federal land, and hunting, fly fishing and hiking are all popular pastimes.

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The announcement also comes as Roosevelt is at the center of another monument controversy, this time in New York – where an iconic 1939 bronze statue outside the American Museum of Natural History in manhattan was eliminated.

The statue depicted Roosevelt flanked by two figures walking alongside him, a Native American and an African – but it sparked major controversy and protests from some corners, with some groups and individuals saying it glorified colonialism and racism.

The controversy was part of a larger campaign to remove statues, monuments and other images across America honoring controversial historical figures, Confederate soldiers, slave owners and others.

Zinke warned of a “woke movement” turning key American historical figures – which has broadened to include founding fathers like Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin – into problematic figures. He said that while American history can sometimes be painful, he opposes its erasure.

“Tome, [the statue] is part of American history, and I was actively involved as secretary in developing the plans for the Teddy Roosevelt Library, where the statue would eventually go, but also in articulating the legacy of what the president really was, and I’m an absolute believer in ‘history should never be suppressed.'”

“It’s part of the identity and the DNA, and some parts of American history are painful, and some are not, but we should learn from our past and form a more perfect union in the future,” did he declare.

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He also said he thought Roosevelt could be a unifying message for Americans, especially young Americans, including on the issue of environmental conservation – and could help focus on the unifying factor. of being an American, rather than the identity politics of the awakening movement and other political ramifications.

“These issues need to be resolved by all of us, red, white and blue, and you need to look through the prism of being American, because the divisiveness of just being Republican or Democrat or black or white or male or female or whatever whether it’s distracting us from the really important things that we need to do as a nation,” he said. “And those important things are going to take courage and bravery, and it’s going to take somebody like Roosevelt or with the spirit of Roosevelt to get the Americans to stand up.”

Betty K. Park