Another nomination by President Donald Trump has been derailed by Senate Democrats.
According to the Washington Examiner, the White House has confirmed that Trump is walking back his nomination of William Pendley to head the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Pendley has been serving as acting chief of the agency since 2019, the Examiner notes.
The outrage over Pendley’s nomination came amid a big win for Trump on the conservation front: the administration just passed a massive piece of legislation that will directly impact the BLM’s agenda moving forward.
Known as the Great American Outdoors Act, the measure has been touted by those on political aisle — but apparently, it wasn’t enough to garner Dems’ confidence in Trump’s pick to head the Bureau of Land Management.
According to the Examiner, Democrats have slammed Pendley as racist and anti-conservation. Speaking Saturday, New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall (D) said Trump pulling Pendley out of the running “would be good news for all who value public lands, conservation, and Tribal sovereignty.”
“It’s hard to imagine a worse pick for BLM than someone who doesn’t believe in the very idea of conservation, who has a clear history of racism toward Native Americans, and who spearheaded a relocation effort that is a transparent effort to undermine the very agency he would oversee,” Udall said, according to the Examiner.
Udall’s Democrat colleague, New Mexico Sen. Martin Heinrich, made similar remarks.
“Mr. Pendley’s public record, including his advocacy for reducing public lands and access to them, routine attempts to undermine tribes, and climate change denial makes him unfit for the position,” Heinrich wrote in a letter to Trump ahead of the president’s reversal, according to the Examiner.
Heinrich went on: “[BLM] needs a leader who reflects the values of the American people and their support for access to public lands. Mr. Pendley’s record lays bare his decades of opposition to those values.”
A look ahead
While Trump supporters may not like that the administration is bowing to the whims of progressives, it was probably a smart move by the White House. Republicans can’t put themselves at risk of losing the Senate in November — and two seats in the upper chamber were put in danger thanks to Pendley’s nomination.
According to the Examiner, Sens. Steve Daines (R-MT) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) were poised to bear the brunt of the damage from the pick. But losing even two seats in the Senate wasn’t a risk Trump was willing to take.
Pendley, for his part, will continue to serve as the acting director of the BLM until a new director is approved by the Senate.