House Minority Leader Nanci Pelosi (D-CA) is calling for Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt to resign amidst a plethora of growing corruption scandals involving the country's environmental boss.
Pelosi noted that Pruitt has "displayed a staggering ethical blindness" during his tenure as head of the EPA.
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s tenure has been a part of the Trump Administration’s culture of corruption, cronyism, and incompetence. Pruitt must resign. Pruitt has displayed a staggering ethical blindness, and his abuses of office are representative of an Administration that uses their powerful positions to enrich themselves and their friends.
Pelosi: ‘Pruitt must resign’ in the wake of ethical issues https://t.co/RSpOV1QZOG https://t.co/FK4k0AHPF5— DemocraticParty (@DemocraticParty) 1523039376.0
Pruitt, known for his anti-environmental policies and dislike of regulations, has come under fire in recent weeks after reports that he rented a condo owned by Vicki Hart, the health care lobbyist wife of J. Steven Hart, an energy lobbyist, for $50 per night.
Pruitt is facing additional scrutiny for alleged misuse of public funds for travel expenses, as well as offering substantial raises to certain EPA staffers without White House approval. Pruitt has also been accused of requesting sirens and armed escorts in order to avoid traffic in Washington, D.C., which has some of the nation's worst road congestion.
Pelosi says Pruitt must go: “EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's tenure has been a part of the Trump Administration’s… https://t.co/yiMw7EW3SD— Lisa Mascaro (@Lisa Mascaro) 1523033965.0
Several EPA officials have lobbied complaints against Pruitt, whom they claim sidelined them when they questioned some of the decisions he was making as head of the EPA. President Donald Trump has defended Pruitt, whom he says is "doing a great job and is under siege" by the "dishonest media.
"I think he’s a fantastic person," Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One Thursday. "You know, I just left coal and energy country. They love Scott Pruitt. They feel very strongly about Scott Pruitt. And they love Scott Pruitt."
Do you believe that the Fake News Media is pushing hard on a story that I am going to replace A.G. Jeff Sessions wi… https://t.co/jChjmx1nKu— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1523025970.0
Rumors have circulated that Trump and Chief of Staff John Kelly mulled firing Pruitt, however, the White House has denied those claims. "No one other than the President has the authority to hire and fire members of his cabinet," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. "It's a decision that he'll make." The White House did, however, say that Pruitt's actions were "under review."
@jdawsey1 And John Kelly agrees w/Pelosi re: Pruitt. :) https://t.co/KsZMkxXlcZ— Laura McGinnis (@Laura McGinnis) 1523035593.0
Former Obama Deputy Secretary of Labor noted that if he had "violated even one of the many ethics rules that Pruitt has violated, I would've been shown the door immediately."
I went to law school with Obama and worked for him for 11 years. But had I violated even one of the many ethics rul… https://t.co/esIcXwsA3y— Chris Lu (@Chris Lu) 1522978728.0
Whether Pruitt will be fired or asked to resign remains to be seen. Despite the corruption allegations, Pruitt has been instrumental in shaping Trump's environmental policies, destructive as they may be. Since taking office last year, Pruitt has repealed numerous Obama-era regulations aimed at protecting the air, water, national monuments, and endangered species.
@ChrisLu44 Secretary Lu, thank you for your service and hard work. We appreciate it! Also, thank you for sharing yo… https://t.co/uyiBfj1mG6— Growing Family (@Growing Family) 1522989912.0
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump promised to undo environmental protections, deeming them bad for business. Pruitt has been a reliable proxy for Trump in achieving this.
Still, the mounting public distaste for the rampant corruption within the Trump administration may have an effect on Pruitt's future. On Wednesday, Pruitt asked to defend his actions in an interview with Ed Henry of Fox News. It didn't go well.
“Is someone going to be fired for that?” asked Henry.
“There will be some accountability,” Pruitt replied.
“A career person or a political person?” Henry said.
Pruitt: “I don’t know.”
“You don’t know?” Henry said, appearing miffed. “You run the agency. You don’t know who did this?”
“I found out about this yesterday and I corrected the action,” Pruitt responded.
.@EPAScottPruitt pushes back on pay raise, condo controversy in Fox exclusive with @edhenry https://t.co/zGKS2NOXtV https://t.co/IHxOwBCf0V— Fox News (@Fox News) 1522865471.0
@FoxNews @EPAScottPruitt @edhenry I'm stunned. Good job by FOX on holding one of Trump's minions accountable. More of this, please.— 🆁 🅰 🅵 🅰 (@🆁 🅰 🅵 🅰) 1522905848.0
At least three House Republicans — Reps. Elise Stefanik, of New York, and Carlos Curbelo and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, have also demanded Pruitt's immediate resignation.