David Bernhardt, Secretary of the Interior

David Bernhardt

Secretary of the Interior

David Longly Bernhardt was born in August 1969 in Rifle, Colorado. He earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Northern Colorado, earned an internship at the Supreme Court of the United States, and later graduated from the George Washington University School of Law. He entered into the private practice of law, worked for a U.S. Congressman from Colorado, and later joined a Denver law and lobbying firm.

During the George W. Bush administration, Bernhardt worked for the U.S. Department of Interior as a deputy chief of staff and counselor to the secretary. He served as the director of the department’s congressional and legislative affairs, and went on to become solicitor of the department after unanimous confirmation from the U.S. Senate. He was the U.S. Commissioner to the International Boundary Commission, U.S. and Canada. President Bush nominated him to be Solicitor General, and he was again unanimously confirmed by the Senate.

After his tenure with the Bush administration, Bernhardt returned to the practice of law.

In 2017, President Trump nominated Bernhardt to be the U.S. Deputy Secretary of the Interior. After several months, he was confirmed in a 53-43 vote of the Senate. On the resignation of Secretary Ryan Zinke, Bernhardt became Acting Secretary of the Interior. He was nominated to be Secretary by President Trump and confirmed by the Senate, assuming office in April 2019.

Bernhardt is married to Gena and they have two children.

In the News…

District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser said that a commission she sanctioned suggested several federal monuments should be removed, relocated, or contextualized, as they honor historic figures who might have ties to slavery or racial oppression. The commission’s list included monuments and buildings named after George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, and Benjamin Franklin.

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said, “My first thought is that no one—no one—will be removing or renaming the Washington Monument or the Jefferson Memorial. None of that is going to happen. It’s just simply nutty.

“Let’s take a step back into reality for a minute and recognize that each of these great individuals did great things. No one is saying that each of these individuals was a perfect human being.”

Secretary Bernhardt pointed out that Franklin Roosevelt was the driving force behind the creation of the Jefferson Memorial.

“And as you walk into it and you see the preamble to the Declaration of Independence and other great things, I think that gives you a great sense of what American exceptionalism is about,” he said.

Mayor Bowser later modified the monument list to remove specific federal properties over which the District has no control.

Contact this Leader…

Did you pray for Secretary Bernhardt today? You can let him know at:

The Honorable Secretary David Bernhardt
Department of the Interior
1849 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20240


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