Ep. 183: Scott Pruitt's Accomplishments at the EPA


"I can't speak to the future of Scott Pruitt", said White House spokesman Hogan Gidley, mere hours before Trump sang praises for the EPA administrator.

Five top Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) employees were either placed on leave or reassigned after raising concerns about Administrator Scott Pruitt's spending and management habits.

Pruitt is also under scrutiny for pay raises granted to two staffers who previously worked for him in Oklahoma and followed him to the EPA. Making a rare appearance in the press cabin of Air Force One on a return flight from West Virginia on Thursday, Trump remarked, "He's been very courageous".

The angel Pruitt is the one wiping out regulations, telling Trump he's right about blowing up the political establishment and "you bet boss"-ing him all over the place". What kind of person is so paranoid that he wants all this stuff, or so puffed-up that he thinks the EPA administrator rates it? Pruitt paid only $50 a night for the condo, and only on nights when he stayed there.

For instance, as the Washington Post reported, "several EPA officials have confirmed that Pruitt's adult daughter stayed in the condo apartment's second bedroom for a period when she was working at the White House previous year".

When reached for comment Thursday, EPA spokesman Liz Bowman said "after serving for over a year as EPA's head of policy, Samantha Dravis has chose to pursue other opportunities".

But according to the EPA Office of the Inspector General, the controversy surrounding the lease hasn't prompted an investigation from the independent agency.

Media reports later disclosed that Pruitt's college-aged daughter occupied a second bedroom in the unit while she interned at the White House last summer.

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In an Associated Press story filed Friday, President Trump said Pruitt has done a "fantastic job" as head of the Environmental Protection Agency. When his lead security agent refused the request, explaining that he couldn't use them unless there was an emergency, the EPA reassigned him, CBS reported.

In the interview Wednesday, Pruitt implied he was not involved in those decisions.

Pelosi says Scott Pruitt's tenure has been "part of the Trump administration's culture of corruption, cronyism and incompetence".

His lodging scandal involves a decision past year to lease a Capitol Hill condominium co-owned by the wife of prominent Washington lobbyist Steven Hart, whose firm represents fossil fuel companies.

On Monday, Pruitt announced plans to roll back automotive fuel economy standards, even as he was ducking questions about what appeared to be a sweetheart housing arrangement in an apartment owned by the wife of an energy lobbyist.

On Friday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called on Pruitt to resign, joining a handful of Democratic senators who have also urged him to step down.

In the 14 months he's been the nation's top environmental rulemaker, the former Oklahoma attorney general who sued the EPA more than a dozen times has rolled back the Clean Power Plan, delayed the Waters of the US rule, and helped convince the president to back out of the Paris Accord on climate change, among a number of changes. "If there's a strategy here, it seems to be to encourage Pruitt to resign to spare the administration more unnecessary drama and intrigue". But he's a good man, he's done a terrific job.