Zinke made his statement on Twitter after Grijalva called for Zinke’s ouster in an op-ed in USA Today, the Hill reported.
“This is coming from a man who used nearly $50,000 in tax dollars as hush money to cover up his drunken and hostile behaviour,” Zinke, a former Republican lawmaker who served with Grijalva in the House of Representatives, said in a tweet, adding, “It’s hard for [Grijalva] to think straight from the bottom of the bottle.” He also supported his statement with a #TuneInnForMore hashtag.
Zinke was referencing a $48,000 settlement Grijalva entered into with a former employee on the House Natural Resources Committee who accused him of being frequently drunk and creating a hostile work environment. The 2015 deal was first reported last year. The Tune Inn, which Zinke referenced in his hashtag, is a bar on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.
“He should resign and pay back the taxpayer for the hush money and the tens of thousands of dollars he forced my department to spend investigating unfounded allegations,” Zinke's statement reads.
Grijalva responded to Zinke, saying, “American people know who I'm here to serve, and they know in whose interests I'm acting. They don't know the same about Secretary Zinke.”
Earlier on Friday, USA Today published an editorial by Grijalva in which he wrote that Zinke should resign, citing the Cabinet secretary’s “ethical and managerial failings” and accusing him of being unable to “withstand scrutiny on Capitol Hill.”