John Oliver Explains Why EPA Chief Scott Pruitt Still Has A Job

John Oliver began Last Week Tonight’s latest episode with a look at the Trump administration “where over 70% of Americans have served in at least two months in a cabinet level position.”

And, yet another cabinet member in serious trouble. This time it’s EPA chief Scott Pruitt, who is under fire over ethics violations and questionable spending.

Among the highlights, he is reported to have spent $832K in first quarter of his term on personal security, spending wastefully on first-class plane tickets and private flights, spending $43K on a soundproof phone booth. His security is 24/7 and included a personal trip to Disneyland and the Rose Bowl.

“I’m a little torn on this one,” Oliver acknowledged. “On the one hand that does seem wasteful. On the other hand,if anyone needs security at Disneyland it’s Scott Pruitt —  a man who even  Mickey and Minnie Mouse would tell to go fuck himself: ‘Space Mountain is going to be under water in 10 years, you son of a bitch!'”

It’s a pretty swift fall from grace for the darling of conservatives, for his aggressive stance at EPA leader – “so aggressive that even though he is literally in charge of the EPA his LinkedIn page still lists him as “a leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda,” Oliver noted.

Pruitt actually appeared on Fox News this week to shore up his position, and seemed completely unprepared for the line of questions he took from Ed Henry.

“Why did you go around the president and the White House to give pay raises to two staffers,” Henry asked of the huge pay hikes given to the two.

“I did not. my staff did and I found out about that yesterday and I changed it,” he replied, limply.

Asked if he would then fire whoever was responsible, Pruitt instead responded the pay raises “should not have been done.”

“Who did it?” Henry wanted to know.

“I don’t know,” Pruitt insisted.

“You don’t know?! You don’t know who did it?” Henry shot back.

“I found out about this yesterday and I corrected the action,” Pruitt deflected.

“Okay. First that is clearly not the Fox News tone that Pruitt was expecting,” Oliver grinned. “That is the face of a man who thought he was walking into an Applebee’s and and ended up in an apple full of bees.”

Pruitt also took heat for the fact that, when he first moved to Washington, he paid just $50 a night to stay in a condo linked to a prominent energy lobbyist. Considering Pruitt is supposed to be part of Trump’s whole drain-the-swamp administration, his explanation was “frankly pathetic,” Oliver described.

Pruitt first insisted to Henry that the deal was “reviewed by officials here,” then he insisted it was “market value.”

Henry reminded him he had rented the place from the wife of a prominent energy lobbyist while he’s running the EPA.

Pruitt did not want to talk about that, so instead answered that you can go on Craigslist and find rooms for rent in Washington D.C. for $50 a night.

Henry, however, insisted he, unlike Pruitt, has lived in Washington for more than 25 years, and has never heard of an apartment going for that rate.

Oliver told viewers his staff checked Airbnb and found, at that price, a bed wedged between the door to the room and the front door that was listed as a “glistening private bedroom” which, Oliver noted, “begs the question ‘Why is it glistening?'”

And, for $30 a night, Oliver’s staff found someone offering the chance to sleep on their leather couch named Black Beauty.

But the true sign Pruitt knew what a sweetheart deal he was getting is how loathe he was to give it up. His lease ran through April of last year but several months later he was still using the place, with Politico reporting the landlords grew so frustrated they eventually pushed him out and changed the locks.

“It’s Black Beauty time!” Oliver forecast for Pruitt’s Washington housing future.

And yet, the HBO late-night host told his viewers,  somehow the story gets even weirder. Taxpayers wound up paying $2,400 to repair a door at that apartment that got damaged last year, when an urgent 911 call said a man inside the condo was not responsive. First responders broke down the door and, press reports say, the cabinet secretary was inside, unresponsive. EPA is not commenting, Oliver said, but sources told ABC News Pruitt was “just napping.”

“He was napping!” Oliver shrieked dubiously.

Oliver also pointed out that what got lost in all those press reports about the incident is that the event took place on a Wednesday. “So, on top of everything else, the director of the EPA was sitting at home, taking a nap in the middle of the day. On a Wednesday! Get the fuck up, Pruitt! You’ve got a country to ruin!”

And yet, amazingly, as of the episode taping, “Pruitt somehow still has a job,” Oliver said. And, when asked on Thursday about Pruitt’s EPA future, or lack thereof, President Donald Trump had responded, “I think he’s done a fantastic job at EPA. I think he’ll be fine.”

“Who knows why he thinks that,” Oliver said, speculating, “maybe it’s because Pruitt is doing exactly what Trump wants him to do, dismantling the EPA, wrecking the environment.”

“Or, maybe Trump just now knows that if you want to get rid of Scott Pruitt, you’re going to have to kick his door down, wake him from a nap, drag him out, and…change the fucking locks.”

Here is Pruitt’s Fox News interview with Ed Henry:

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