Over the weekend, three GOP senators questioned EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s spending habits and management practices, just after President Donald Trump tweeted that the embattled agency head was “doing a great job but is totally under siege.” On Sunday morning news shows, Louisiana’s Sen. John Kennedy, South Carolina’s Sen. Lindsey Graham and Sen. Susan Collins of Maine voiced concern about Pruitt’s conduct. “This doesn’t look good,” Graham said on ABC’s This Week.
“This daily drip of accusations of excessive spending and ethical violations serve to further distract the agency from accomplishing its very important mission,” Collins said on CNN’s State of the Union. “I think Congress needs to do some oversight.” She is the only Republican senator to vote against Pruitt’s confirmation in the U.S. Senate. “Ethics matter, impropriety matters, the appearance of impropriety matters to the extent that you are, stop acting like a chuckle head, stop the unforced errors, stop leading with your chin,” Kennedy said.
Aside from reports of excessive travel spending and a below-market deal on an apartment he rented from the wife of an energy lobbyist, Pruitt is also accused of pushing out senior staff who have raised flags about his wasteful taxpayer spending, travel and security practices. White House Chief of Staff John Kelly is rumored to have recommended firing Pruitt, but Trump is so far standing by his guy. “Do people really believe this stuff? So much of the media is dishonest and corrupt,” the president wrote in his tweet supporting Pruitt, while justifying the exorbitant security costs as necessary because Pruitt “received death threats because of his bold actions at EPA.”