House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called on Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt to resign Friday, following a string of negative media reports about Pruitt’s spending and management.
Pelosi shared a meme declaring “Pruitt Must Go!” and accused the Trump administration of a culture of “corruption, cronyism, and incompetence.”
.@EPAScottPruitt's tenure has been a part of the Trump Administration’s culture of corruption, cronyism and incompetence. Pruitt must resign. #PollutingPruitt https://t.co/BMBgJPKkXW pic.twitter.com/xO1hV6xvxB
— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) April 6, 2018
Pelosi is the latest and most prominent Democrat to call for Pruitt’s job after reports emerged that Pruitt’s staff received pay raises without White House approval. Pruitt has denied knowledge of the pay increases and told Fox News that the administration is taking corrective action.
Pruitt is also accused of extravagant spending on overseas trips and of having inappropriate ties to a condo that was leased to a fossil-fuels lobbyist. Urging President Trump to weather the attacks on his cabinet, The Wall Street Journal catalogued how the corruption allegations against Pruitt are bogus:
Take the flap over Mr. Pruitt’s first-class air flights, as well as $120,000 for him and his security detail to visit Italy last summer for a G-7 meeting and $40,000 for a trip to Morocco. Apparently it’s a scandal now to tour the Vatican in spare hours on a business trip. The costs are due in part to security precautions after threats against Mr. Pruitt. Some $30,000 of that Italy bill went to security.
Yet his predecessors took similar trips and racked up even more expenses. According to the EPA, Lisa Jackson, the Administrator from 2009 to 2013, spent more than $332,000 on four international trips; one trip to China cost $155,000. Her successor, Gina McCarthy, went on 10 international sojourns, spending $630,000. One trip was to Italy, where Ms. McCarthy received—a tour of the Vatican.
Then there’s the non-scandal that from February to July last year Mr. Pruitt rented a small condo for $50 a night from casual friends. The place is co-owned by Vicki Hart, a health-care lobbyist with no business in front of the EPA, but her husband, J. Steven Hart, owns a lobbying firm that represents industries including energy.
Mr. Hart has no share in the condo, and he has stated that he had no lobbying contact with the EPA in 2017 or 2018. The EPA’s principal deputy general counsel Kevin Minoli released a memo explaining that EPA career ethics officials had reviewed the lease and found that Mr. Pruitt paid a “reasonable market value” ($1,500 a month). A second Minoli memo this week offered a more detailed analysis, which some in the press mischaracterized but which Mr. Minoli described as “reaffirming the original decision” that the lease did “not constitute a prohibited gift.”
Earlier Friday, President Trump tweeted that Pruitt is “TOTALLY under siege.”
Do you believe that the Fake News Media is pushing hard on a story that I am going to replace A.G. Jeff Sessions with EPA Chief Scott Pruitt, who is doing a great job but is TOTALLY under siege? Do people really believe this stuff? So much of the media is dishonest and corrupt!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 6, 2018
The president is right. These attacks are thrown at Pruitt not because of anything unethical he’s done, but because he’s a conservative who is undoing the Obama legacy of disastrous regulations that strangled the economy.
The Democrats in the media and in government are waging an all-out war against the conservatives in Trump’s cabinet. They want to push out as many conservatives as possible before the 2018 midterms, plotting to render the Trump administration impotent should they take control of Congress in November.
Here’s the bright side though: Now that Pelosi is involved, it’s obvious this is a politically motivated smear campaign against Pruitt. The EPA chief should take her tweet as an in-kind contribution to his job security.
Chris Pandolfo is a staff writer and type-shouter for Conservative Review. He holds a B.A. in politics and economics from Hillsdale College. His interests are conservative political philosophy, the American founding, and progressive rock. Follow him on Twitter for doom-saying and great album recommendations @ChrisCPandolfo.
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