David Bernhardt is the acting U.S. secretary of the interior. He assumed the role on January 2, 2019, when former Secretary Ryan Zinke resigned.
On February 4, 2019, President Donald Trump 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." Trump will have to formally nominate Bernhardt and a simple majority of senators will have to confirm him before he can take office. Republicans currently hold 53 of the Senate's 100 seats, making his confirmation likely.
Prior to 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.