President Donald Trump defended his Environmental Protection Agency administrator, Scott Pruitt, despite rampant criticism in the media.
“I think he’s done a fantastic job at EPA. I think he’s done an incredible job,” Trump said to reporters aboard Air Force One. “He’s been very courageous. Hasn’t been easy, but I think he’s done an absolutely fantastic job. I think he’ll be fine.”
Trump typically backs embattled cabinet members when confronted by the media, but sometimes changes his mind suddenly and fires them.
Pruitt is coming under sustained criticism as a result of frequent embarrassing stories in the press. Pruitt faces well-funded environmental enemies of the Trump agenda as well as internal dissent from EPA employees.
Recent reports challenged Pruitt’s decision to rent an apartment in Washington, DC, which was co-owned by a health care lobbyist. Pruitt paid only $50 a night for the condo, and only on nights when he stayed there.
Pruitt defended his decision as reasonable for Washington, DC, in an interview with Fox News reporter Ed Henry.
The Atlantic reported that two staffers in the EPA, who were also friends of his from Oklahoma, received financial bonuses from the Safe Drinking Water Act after the White House rejected a pay raise for them.
Trump said that he was hearing “different versions” of the story, but said that he would take a look at the reports.
He denied that he was considering Pruitt as a replacement for Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a frequent rumor in the media that has not come to fruition.
“No, Scott is doing a great job where he is,” Trump said.