Sixty-four Democrats urged President Donald Trump to fire Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Scott Pruitt amid leftist and media attacks against the agency chief.
The Democrats, led by Reps. Don Beyer (D-VA) and David Cicilline (D-RI), listed several reasons why they believe Trump should have the EPA chief step aside.
“Scott Pruitt’s unethical behavior, wasteful use of taxpayer money, and his efforts to undermine the EPA’s core mission to protect our environment and public health demand an appropriate response: his resignation or his firing,” the Democrats wrote.
The Democratic lawmakers continued, “A man under numerous investigations both for ethical concerns and wasteful spending, who has actively moved to undermine environmental rules and regulations at industry request, is antithetical to the job of EPA Administrator. Mr. Pruitt needs to go.”
Meanwhile, more than a hundred conservative leaders wrote a letter to President Trump asking the commander in chief to keep Pruitt, arguing that the EPA chief has led the way in passing the president’s America First agenda.
The conservative leaders wrote to the president:
The days of a rogue, agenda driven EPA are over. Scott Pruitt is a bold, capable manager and is right for this job. His record shows you made the right choice picking him. We are certain he will guide EPA through the coming years of your Administration as a courageous and qualified administrator.
Jenny Beth Martin of the Tea Party Patriots argued, “Pruitt is delivering on policy changes that conservatives have wanted to see for years, if not decades. There’s not a single member of the cabinet who has managed to deliver regulation rollbacks as much as Scott Pruitt has.”
The conservatives cheered Pruitt’s many accomplishments during his first year as the head of the environmental agency:
We applaud Administrator Pruitt’s many accomplishments. In just over a year he has worked closely with your team to roll back dozens of needless regulations that will save America’s manufacturing and energy sectors billions annually. Needed regulatory reforms include revising Obama era fuel economy and emissions standards for automobiles that were completely out of touch with the marketplace; rolling back regulations associated with the job‐crushing, onerous Obama “Clean Power Plan” which saved the U.S. economy an estimated $33 billion in unnecessary costs; negating the ridiculous, “Waters of the United States” rule which slapped individual landowners with sanctions and fines for drainage ditches or pools of standing water on private property; and doing away with EPA’s disingenuous “sue and settle” policy.
The Tea Party Patriots leader said this was the first time that the group of conservatives banded together to defend a Trump Cabinet official. Martin also argued that she has yet to see a fireable offense.
A Republican strategist involved in the drafting the letter charged, “This is the conservative movement coming forward and saying this guy is a rock star. I have not seen a more united conservative front on behalf of a Cabinet member since the Reagan administration.”
Pruitt faces intense media and political scrutiny for reports suggesting that the EPA chief got discounted rental fees for a D.C. condo, forced out EPA critics, and traveled across the nation first class.
Kevin Minoli, the principal deputy general counsel for the EPA, issued a memo on Wednesday confirming that Pruitt’s rental of a condo from a lobbyist did amount to an unethical gift.
On Thursday, Trump told reporters on Air Force One that he would look into the reports but was satisfied with Pruitt’s performance at the EPA.
“I think he’s done a fantastic job at EPA. I think he’s done an incredible job,” he said. “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”:
Do you believe that the Fake News Media is pushing hard on a story that I am going to replace A.G. Jeff Sessions with EPA Chief Scott Pruitt, who is doing a great job but is TOTALLY under siege? Do people really believe this stuff? So much of the media is dishonest and corrupt!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 6, 2018
In a Washington Post op-ed last week, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign chairman, John Podesta, called for Pruitt to resign.
On Monday, the Washington Post editorial board called for Pruitt to resign.
The Natural Resources Defense Council, a leftist environmental group, called for Pruitt to step aside last week, arguing that he is a “threat to the environment and our health.”
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) tweeted support for Pruitt on Thursday.
Paul wrote, “Scott Pruitt is likely the bravest and most conservative member of Trump’s cabinet. We need him to help Donald Trump drain the regulatory swamp”:
.@EPAScottPruitt is likely the bravest and most conservative member of Trump's cabinet. We need him to help @realDonaldTrump drain the regulatory swamp.
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) April 5, 2018