'Pruitt Is the Swamp. Drain It.' Fox News's Laura Ingraham Really Wants Trump's EPA Head to Go
06 July, 2018, 03:29
Trump gave him and other officials a brief shout-out, offering no sign of any immediate change in his job. Andrew Wheeler, Pruitt's deputy, will take over as acting administrator Monday, Trump said in the tweets. "We have made tremendous progress and the future of the EPA is very bright", Trump wrote.
Mr. Pruitt had been seen Wednesday at the White House celebrating Independence Day at an annual picnic for military families at the president's invitation.
Pruitt was one of Trump's most effective Cabinet members, slashing regulations on the energy and manufacturing industries, including his move to repeal Democratic former President Barack Obama's signature program to cut carbon emissions from power plants, dubbed the Clean Power Plan. But Pruitt had also been dogged for months by a seemingly unending string of scandals that spawned more than a dozen federal and congressional investigations. Lawmakers also expressed concerns about reports that Pruitt used EPA aides to set up meetings about getting his wife a job, which could violate laws that prohibit using a federal position for personal financial gain.
If the rights of religious conservatives like him aren't protected, Pruitt said darkly, "it leads to anarchy, it leads to rebellion", something he said would happen in the coming decades. Documents later showed Pruitt's chief of staff had signed off on the pay hikes, indicating he had the administrator's consent. Many questioned the ethics of him renting an apartment in Washington, D.C., from the wife of an energy lobbyist and traveling frequently to his home state of Oklahoma on the taxpayers' dime.
Pruitt also was hampered by spending scandals related to security.
While Wheeler may find it hard to accumulate the same number of ridiculous scandals as his predecessor, many pointed to the fact that he hosted fundraisers for GOP senators while they were evaluating his nomination for deputy EPA administrator as clear evidence of his contempt for basic ethical standards.
Pruitt had faced increasing public criticism and ethics reviews in recent months as expenses over security measures, first-class flights and a sound-proof communications system came to light.
Democrats and environmental advocacy groups cheered the departure of Pruitt, a close ally of the fossil fuel industry. "Then, of course, you know, I saw who he's appointed as the interim, and that's reality for us", she said of Pruitt's replacement, his deputy at the EPA Andrew Wheeler. "He's a big believer, and he's going to do a fantastic job", the president told journalists of Wheeler.