David Bernhardt is the current U.S. secretary of the interior. He is the 53rd person to serve in the position. Bernhardt served as acting secretary from January 2, 2019, when former Secretary Ryan Zinke resigned, to April 11, 2019.
Trump formally nominated Bernhardt to the position on March 11, 2019, and the U.S. Senate confirmed him on April 11, 2019, on a 56 - 41 vote.
On February 4, 2019, President Donald Trump (R) announced that he would nominate Bernhardt to serve as U.S. secretary of the interior. In a tweet, Trump wrote, "David has done a fantastic job from the day he arrived, and we look forward to having his nomination officially confirmed!"
Bernhardt commented on Trump's announcement, writing in a tweet, "It’s a humbling privilege to be nominated to lead a Department whose mission I love, to accomplish the balanced, common sense vision of our President."
The secretary of the Interior is responsible for overseeing the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), which "conserves and manages the Nation’s natural resources and cultural heritage for the benefit and enjoyment of the American people, provides scientific and other information about natural resources and natural hazards to address societal challenges and create opportunities for the American people, and honors the Nation’s trust responsibilities or special commitments to American Indians, Alaska Natives, and affiliated island communities to help them prosper."
Before serving as acting secretary, Bernhardt served as deputy secretary of the Interior. He was confirmed by the Senate on July 24, 2017, and was sworn into office on August 1, 2017. Bernhardt was also a member of Trump's transition team, a group of advisors tasked with recommending presidential appointments for the incoming administration.
From 1998 to 2001, Bernhardt was an associate with Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck. After an eight-year hiatus from lobbying, Bernhardt returned to Brownstein as a shareholder. He also served as the co-chair of the firm’s Natural Resources Department.
In 2001, he took a position with the U.S. Department of the Interior as the counselor to the secretary and director of the Office of Congressional and Legislative Affairs. In 2004, he became the counselor to the secretary and deputy chief of staff within the department. In 2005, he was the deputy solicitor and, in 2006, he was the solicitor. He remained solicitor until 2009.