April 06, 2018
By Emily Atkin –
Scott Pruitt probably can’t wait for this week to be over. The head of the Environmental Protection Agency has had the roughest stretch yet of his controversial tenure, as several new scandals have broken over the past days, intensifying the accusations against him of corruption and taxpayer waste and causing widespread speculation that he would be fired. “Any administration but this one would have discharged him long ago,” William K. Reilly, an EPA administrator under President George Bush, told The New York Times. Even White House Chief of Staff John Kelly reportedly wants Pruitt gone.
President Donald Trump is usually trigger-happy when it comes to firing Cabinet members. But his relationship with Pruitt is special. “Pruitt owes his good standing with the president primarily to his success in implementing the Trump administration’s environmental agenda,” the Daily Beast reported. According to Politico, a “White House aide noted … that Trump was pleased with Pruitt’s efforts to roll back environmental regulations at the EPA.” Trump himself seemed to confirm as much on Thursday. As he boarded a plane to coal country, he was asked if he still had confidence in Pruitt. “I do, I do,” he replied. Later, in a gaggle with reporters on the plane, he said of Pruitt, “I think he’s done a fantastic job. I think he’s done an incredible job. He’s been very courageous. It hasn’t been easy, but I think he’s done a fantastic job.”