In the end, according to two administration officials familiar with internal discussions, Trump forced Pruitt out Thursday without speaking to him - instead having his chief of staff call the Environmental Protection Agency around midday to say it was time for Pruitt to go.
Last month, while praising Pruitt's "fantastic job" at the EPA, the president admitted, "I'm not happy about certain things, I'll be honest". "We have made tremendous progress and the future of the EPA is very bright!" "I believe you are serving as President today because of God's providence", Pruitt wrote.
"From moving to roll back strong fuel economy standards, to repealing the Clean Power Plan, to undermining chemical regulation, to suppressing climate science, to advocating for USA withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, Scott Pruitt made the EPA stand for Every Polluter's Ally", he said in a statement. Environmental groups expressed dismay when he joined the federal agency, and Pruitt has since sought to roll back various environmental regulations, including Obama-era auto emission standards.
"No final straw", Trump said Thursday, when asked what led to his decision.
During his one-year tenure, Pruitt crisscrossed the country at taxpayer expense to speak with industry groups and hobnob with GOP donors, but he showed little interest in listening to advocates he derided as "the environmental left". Inhofe hailed Wheeler's ascension to EPA chief.
Thailand weighs rescue options as football team gets aid
His team is considering rescue options, but would not attempt to have them dive out without doing more checks and a dummy run. The search turned tense as time went on and concern grew about whether the group would be found alive.
Pruitt has been buffeted by numerous revelations about extravagant spending, including $1,560 for a dozen fountain pens, $3,000 on "tactical pants" and "tactical polos", $43,000 on a soundproof phone booth for his office and $120,000 on a trip to Italy. The company paid Wheeler's firm at least $300,000 each year between 2009 and 2017, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Scott Pruitt may turn out to be a seminal case in the study of crisis management: Just how bad does an exec's public image have to get before they finally resign?
His job had been in jeopardy since it emerged he had leased a property past year that was co-owned by the wife of a veteran fossil fuels lobbyist, whose firm had sought regulatory rollbacks from the EPA.
Matt Dempsey, the managing director of FTI Consulting who worked with Wheeler on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said he fully expects Wheeler will carry out President Trump's agenda. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., the panel's former chairman and a political mentor to both Pruitt and Wheeler.
"It has become increasingly challenging for the EPA to carry out its mission with the administrator under investigation", said Barrasso, who is from Wyoming.
"Pruitt abused power in a disgraceful way by using the job for perks and trying to enrich himself and his family", Hurlbut told GTM.