GOP Rep Leaves Biden Official Dumbstruck with Basic Questions She Should Be Able to Answer


Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke, a Republican who served as the Secretary of the Interior under President Donald Trump, torched his hapless successor, Deb Haaland, during her testimony before the House Interior, Environment Appropriations Subcommittee on Tuesday.

During their brutal exchange, Secretary Haaland failed to provide a single intelligent response to questions about critical minerals that are vital not only to the American economy, but to U.S. national security, as well.

Zinke asked Haaland, “Madame Secretary, is it your policy that critical minerals should be sourced from countries that are stewards of the environment like the U.S. and our allies, or sourced from Russia and China that don’t share our same values?”

As she tried to dodge the question, Zinke said he would take that as a “maybe.”

Next, he asked if Haaland was “aware that China produces more emissions than any other country on the planet?”

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“I have probably read that somewhere, yes,” the secretary replied.

“Are you also aware that China produces 90 percent of the world’s plastic from four rivers?”

“I will take that as …” Haaland began.

Zinke interrupted, “You also are aware that China is the biggest offender on illegal fishing?”

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“Thank you chair – congressman.” Haaland said quietly.

“Have you read the Department of Interior report on critical minerals dated December [20]17?”

She had not.

“Are you aware that China controls by proxy production the supply chain of critical minerals that are critical to both the EV world and defense?” Zinke pressed.

“Thank you for that information,” she meekly replied.

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“Are you aware by multiple studies that in order to satisfy the present requirements of EV and critical minerals of defense, it would take an increase of 2,000 percent of mining for twenty years?” asked Zinke.

“Thank you for the information congressman.”

“Are you also aware that northern Minnesota is home to those critical minerals that are necessary for EVs and our Defense Department?” Zinke asked as part of a rapid-fire round of questions.

“I think there are critical minerals across our country,” Haaland replied.

The painful exchange continued on in this manner with Zinke growing increasingly frustrated by Haaland’s lack of basic knowledge about the agency she oversees.

The full exchange with Haaland can be viewed in the video below.

Haaland’s struggle to answer nearly every question Zinke posed was alarming. Even more frightening is that Haaland’s weak showing  was just one of many similar performances by Biden administration officials and nominees.

In the video below, Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy, a Republican, stumped Charnelle Bjelkengren, a Biden judicial nominee for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington, with basic questions about the Constitution. Kennedy asked her to describe the purpose of Article V of the U.S. Constitution.

“Article V is not coming to mind at the moment,” Bjelkengren replied.

Next, Kennedy asked, “How about Article II?”

Bjelkengren responded, “Neither is Article II.”

She drew a blank on a question about purposivism as well. But had she been confirmed, by golly, and according to the Alliance For Justice, Bjelkengren would have been “the first black woman to serve on a federal District Court in the state of Washington.”

Bjelkengren was not confirmed during the last session, but at the urging of Washington Sen. Patty Murray, a Democrat, she has been renominated.

Biden’s nominee to lead the Federal Aviation Administration, Phil Washington, was another disastrous choice. After questioning by Republican senators determined how little experience in the aviation industry he actually had, Washington took himself out of the running, according to Politico.

Phil Washington — President Joe Biden’s choice to lead the Federal Aviation Administration — literally couldn’t answer a single question presented by GOP Sen. Ted Budd.

No one should be surprised. This is what happens when candidates are selected on the basis of their ethnicity or gender rather than on their merits.

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Elizabeth writes commentary for The Western Journal and The Washington Examiner. Her articles have appeared on many websites, including MSN, RedState, Newsmax, The Federalist and RealClearPolitics. Please follow Elizabeth on Twitter or LinkedIn.
Elizabeth is a contract writer at The Western Journal. Her articles have appeared on many conservative websites including RedState, Newsmax, The Federalist,, HotAir, MSN and RealClearPolitics.

Please follow Elizabeth on Twitter.