U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT) arrives at Trump Tower, December 12, 2016 in New York City. President-elect Donald Trump and his transition team are in the process of filling cabinet and other high level positions for the new administration.
PHOTO: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT) arrives at Trump Tower, December 12, 2016 in New York City. President-elect Donald Trump and his transition team are in the process of filling cabinet and other high level positions for the new administration.
Now playing
01:44
Source: Ryan Zinke pick for Interior secretary
Pat Cipollone close up
PHOTO: Stein Mitchell Cipollone Beato & Missner LLP
Pat Cipollone close up
Now playing
02:10
Meet Trump's new White House counsel
John Bolton and John Kelly
PHOTO: Getty Images
John Bolton and John Kelly
Now playing
02:12
Bolton, Kelly get into heated shouting match
US President Donald Trump prepares to board Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on October 1, 2018.
PHOTO: MANDEL NGAN/Getty Images
US President Donald Trump prepares to board Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on October 1, 2018.
Now playing
02:35
Trump administration dismisses EPA scientists
Donald Trump welcomes retired United States Marine Corps general James Mattis as they pose for a photo before their meeting at Trump International Golf Club, November 19, 2016 in Bedminster Township, New Jersey.
PHOTO: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Donald Trump welcomes retired United States Marine Corps general James Mattis as they pose for a photo before their meeting at Trump International Golf Club, November 19, 2016 in Bedminster Township, New Jersey.
Now playing
02:44
Trump: James Mattis is 'sort of a Democrat'
Now playing
01:27
Sanders: 'Sad' that op-ed is getting attention
Sonny Perdue, President TrumpÕs nominee to lead the Agriculture Department, takes his seat as he arrives for his confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry on Capitol Hill, March 23, 2017 in Washington. Previously, Perdue served as the governor of Gerogia from 2003 to 2011. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Sonny Perdue, President TrumpÕs nominee to lead the Agriculture Department, takes his seat as he arrives for his confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry on Capitol Hill, March 23, 2017 in Washington. Previously, Perdue served as the governor of Gerogia from 2003 to 2011. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:02
Emails reveal food lobbyist influence on USDA
US.President Donald Trump departs the White House July 31, 2018 in Washington, DC (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Win McNamee/Getty Images
US.President Donald Trump departs the White House July 31, 2018 in Washington, DC (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:03
Trump team suggests ACLU find deported parents
President Donald Trump speaks during a rally, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2018, at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes Barre, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
PHOTO: Matt Rourke/AP
President Donald Trump speaks during a rally, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2018, at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes Barre, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Now playing
02:16
Trump slams probe 'hoax' despite intel warning
John Kelly answers questions during a press conference related to President Donald Trump's recent executive order concerning travel and refugees, January 31, 2017 in Washington, DC.
PHOTO: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
John Kelly answers questions during a press conference related to President Donald Trump's recent executive order concerning travel and refugees, January 31, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Now playing
00:57
Trump asked John Kelly to stay through 2020
US candidate to the head of International Organization for Migration (IOM) Ken Isaacs looks on during a press briefing on March 19, 2018 in Geneva.
PHOTO: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images
US candidate to the head of International Organization for Migration (IOM) Ken Isaacs looks on during a press briefing on March 19, 2018 in Geneva.
Now playing
00:32
Trump's pick for UN migration job voted down
PHOTO: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images/File
Now playing
01:59
Trump appointee guts UN document on racism
Bill Shine, left, and President Donald Trump
PHOTO: Getty Images
Bill Shine, left, and President Donald Trump
Now playing
00:51
Former Fox News executive takes White House job
Vice President Mike Pence speaks at Las Vegas City Hall on October 7, 2017.
PHOTO: Ethan Miller/Getty
Vice President Mike Pence speaks at Las Vegas City Hall on October 7, 2017.
Now playing
02:34
Genealogist: Chain migration helped Pence family
PHOTO: getty images/dpa/ap
Now playing
02:57
Vets call on WH to fire aide over crude joke
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly awaits fthe start of a jobs creation pledge event in the East Room of the White House July 19, 2018 in Washington, DC. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
PHOTO: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly awaits fthe start of a jobs creation pledge event in the East Room of the White House July 19, 2018 in Washington, DC. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:08
Kelly retracts comment Trump is 'embarrassed'

Story highlights

He's faced criticism from environmental and conservation groups since joining the House in 2015

His selection is major political break for Democrats

(CNN) —  

President-elect Donald Trump has chosen Montana Republican Rep. Ryan Zinke as his nominee to lead the Interior Department. A transition official said Zinke has accepted the offer.

Zinke, a 55-year-old ex-Navy SEAL commander and recipient of two Bronze Stars for combat missions in Iraq, was a Trump supporter.

He’s also faced criticism from environmental and conservation groups since joining the House in 2015.

In the House, Zinke is a member of the Armed Services and Natural Resources committees.

His selection is major political break for Democrats. Zinke was the top Republican prospect to challenge Sen. Jon Tester in 2018, and his removal from the race would substantially improve Democrats’ chances of holding the seat in the midterms.

Zinke met with the President-elect at Trump Tower on Monday.

“President-elect Donald Trump and I had a very positive meeting where we discussed a wide range of Montana priorities,” Zinke told The Billings Gazette in a statement afterward. “We are both very hopeful for the future.”

Trump transition spokesman Jason Miller also praised Zinke in a call with reporters.

“Congressman Zinke is a strong advocate for American energy independence. And he supports an all-encompassing energy policy that includes renewable, fossil fuels and alternative energy,” Miller said. “Additionally, Congressman Zinke believes we need to find a way to cut through bureaucracy to ensure our nation’s parks, forests, and other public areas are properly maintained and used effectively.”