And another one down, and another one down, another one bites the dust.
That’s right, folks, another Trump cabinet member has left the administration. This time it’s EPA chief Scott Pruitt.
This really shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody. Pruitt has been under fire for months over a host of ethics charges. He’s been accused of wasting taxpayer dollars on frivolous things, like soundproofed booths to take personal phone calls. And his security detail for his first year as EPA chief cost taxpayers $3.5 million dollars, far more than any previous EPA head.
Pruitt was criticized left and right by the mainstream media. He was blamed for dismantling the EPA, which is effectively the lefty equivalent of the Vatican. Liberals who worship the environment (most of whom have never set foot outside of a city or, on rare occasions, a carefully manicured hiking trail) were shocked by Pruitt’s effective spate of deregulations.
To be fair to Scott Pruitt, he did do a really really great job at just giving American corporations, especially oil and natural gas corporations, basically everything they needed to stay globally competitive.
Pruitt moved step by step, like a well-oiled machine, to dismantle Obama’s legacy of failed regulations. And that was great. (And Trump justifiably praised him for the way he handled the EPA.)
But he also spent an ungodly amount of money on a 24 hour security detail that was beyond unnecessary, and had real ethics concerns that made him a poor fit for an Agency chief. (There was a little bit of a kickback scandal involving high salaries he paid to personal friends. He also allegedly enlisted his official government aides to help his wife get a Chick-fil-A franchise.) When you’re the chief of a major agency in DC, you have to keep your nose clean.
And Pruitt couldn’t do it.
So it’s probably for the best that he’s now handing in his resignation. President Trump announced in a tweet on Thursday that he’d accepted Pruitt’s resignation.
He also praised Pruitt for his performance at the EPA. “Within the Agency Scott has done an outstanding job and I will always be thankful to him for this,” the President said.
Trump told reporters on board Air Force One that Pruitt chose to resign because he felt he was distracting from Trump’s message and agenda. Trump told reporters there wasn’t any kind of “final straw” moment, that it was totally Pruitt’s decision to resign, and that it had been in the works “for a little while.”
Pruitt will be replaced by a man named Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist. Wheeler has been number two at the EPA for a few months. Most believe that Wheeler will continue in the same deregulation vein that Pruitt began.