Sen. Bob Menendez (D., N.J.) told CNN Monday that under Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke he expects an increasing "lily white" department after Zinke reportedly said he doesn't think diversity is important.
Host Erin Burnett told Menendez that several employees for the department told CNN that Zinke said "I don't care about diversity" and "I don't really think that's important anymore."
Zinke also said that "what's important is having the right person for the right job" and "I care about excellence."
Menendez said he doesn't think diversity comes at the sacrifice of quality.
"We can find some of the best people in the nation from diverse communities whether that diversity is ethnically, racially or otherwise," Menendez said.
"The problem is that Zinke is clearly on a path in which, I think, we're going to have increasingly a lily white Department of the Interior," he added.
Menendez then argued that it is important for every federal department to look like the United States of America.
"We don't have to sacrifice quality in order to achieve diversity," Menendez said. "That's where the secretary is absolutely wrong."