Embattled EPA chief Scott Pruitt is the latest Cabinet member spotted in the Trump Tumbril, after Deputy White House Press Secretary Hogan Gidley told Fox News Channel’s Sandra Smith on Thursday, “I cannot speak to the future of Scott Pruitt.”
And that was before CBS News began reporting this afternoon that a security agent was removed from Pruitt’s detail after telling Pruitt he could not turn on his vehicles light and sirens to circumvent a Washington traffic jam because it was not an emergency situation. CBS News reports the 16-year agency veteran got yanked and re-assigned days later.
Pruitt has been on tumbril watch since reports surfaced about his having given two EPA pals huge pay raises and a sweetheart deal in which he pays the wife of a Washington lobbyist 50 bucks a night for his housing while in town. Pruitt made it worse when he ignored White House Chief of Staff John Kelly’s guidance to give all interview requests a miss, because what could go wrong in an interview with Trump’s fave media outlet, right?
Pruitt withered when grilled by Fox News’ Ed Henry, insisting he had no idea his EPA staffers had gotten the big pay hikes that had been turned own by the White House, though media outlets insist otherwise, and no idea who had done the approving:
Henry: You don’t know? You run the agency. You don’t know who did it?
Pruitt: I found out about this yesterday and I corrected the action and we are in the process of finding out how it took place and correcting it.
….and, when Henry asked if “draining the swamp” was the EPA chief renting an apartment from a Washington lobbyist whose firm is lobbying the EPA, complained that was “not even remotely fair to ask that question.”
Trump was not impressed with Pruitt’s TV performance, various pundits reported Thursday.
As Trump boarded Air Force One for West Virginia on Thursday, reporters shouted a question at him as to whether he still had confidence in Pruitt. “I do,” POTUS said, and nothing more. Even that did not get Pruitt out of the tumbril, with some pundits taking it to be the latest instance of Trump patting a team member on the back before shoving in the shiv [see Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, VA chief David Shulkin].
On Wednesday, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters on Wednesday the White House is reviewing Pruitt’s actions.
Then today, the V-shaped depression around Pruitt became even moreso, with Gidley’s update on FNC’s America’s Newsroom: