Posted: 3:39 pm Tuesday, April 3rd, 2018
By Jamie Dupree
Under fire on a variety of fronts, EPA chief Scott Pruitt on Tuesday faced new calls by Republicans and Democrats in the Congress for his resignation, as a pair of GOP lawmakers from Florida said it had become obvious that Pruitt should go back to his home state of Oklahoma, and have someone else take over the leadership of the Environmental Protection Agency, as the White House gave no concrete indication about Pruitt’s future.
“When scandals and distractions overtake a public servant’s ability to function effectively, another person should fill that role,” said Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), who joined fellow Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) in saying on Tuesday that it’s time for Pruitt to go.
On Twitter, Curbelo said Pruitt’s conduct has been an ’embarrassment,’ and a waste of taxpayer dollars.
“It’s time for him to resign or for POTUS to dismiss him,” Curbelo said of Pruitt and President Trump.
The state of the West Wing right now: Trump is calling Pruitt to tell him he's fine while White House officials were telling reporters yesterday that Pruitt has no defenders left and is likely on his way out the door.
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) April 3, 2018
At the White House, there were competing press reports that Pruitt was safe, that the President was not going to get rid of him, or that Pruitt was on thin ice, and might be out the door soon.
Asked about the EPA Administrator during a photo op at the White House on Tuesday, Mr. Trump gave an answer that did not end speculation about Pruitt’s future.
“I hope he’s going to be great,” the President said of Pruitt, as aides shooed away reporters.
White House chief of staff John Kelly has considered firing EPA head Scott Pruitt, but Pruitt’s current standing with the president is not quite clear. When asked if he supported Pruitt, Trump replied, “I hope he’s gonna be great” https://t.co/TznT0Yv3FY pic.twitter.com/F7ErjnBNNH
— POLITICO (@politico) April 3, 2018
Pruitt, a former Attorney General of Oklahoma who has led the charge against government regulations, has long been seen as a favorite of President Trump, but that has slipped with a parade of stories in recent weeks that have raised ethical questions – and questions about his future.
“This Administration keeps falling deeper and deeper into the swamp,” said Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), as Democrats zeroed in on Pruitt’s inexpensive deal for an apartment on Capitol Hill, offered up by an energy lobbyist.
Pruitt’s recent troubles include:
+ Questions about an inexpensive $50 per day deal to rent a condominium on Capitol Hill from an energy lobbyist.
+ Controversy over the cost of his government travel; Pruitt last month stopped flying by first-class after questions were raised.
+ Use of 24-hour security outside of Washington, D.C.
+ The spending of over $40,000 on a soundproof communications booth for his office.
+ An effort to give top aides a pay raise, even after Pruitt was rebuffed by White House budget officials.
“If you understood the meaning of the word “inappropriate” your week would be going very differently,” said Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA), who last week called for Pruitt to quit, or be fired.
So EPA Admin. Pruitt got a sweetheart lease to an energy lobbyist-linked pad that did double duty as a GOP fundraising hotspot. Oh, and the landlord's pipeline project was approved by EPA at the same time. Just another day in the #TrumpSwamp.
— Rep. Ted Deutch (@RepTedDeutch) April 3, 2018
“The revelations of corruption, incompetence and cronyism coming out of the White House are so frequent it’s hard to keep track of them,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL).
“Why does he still have a job?” she added.
On Tuesday, Pruitt steered clear of the controversy, as he announced new plans for the Trump Administration to relax fuel-mileage standards put in place by the Obama Administration.