Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Sen. Joe Kennedy (R-LA) said Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Scott Pruitt controversies were “unforced errors,” and called them “stupid.”
Partial transcript as follows:
BRENNAN: I want to also ask you about EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. The president seems to have given him a pass in a tweet yesterday signaling that he’s okay with some of these reports about government spending run amok and these other allegations of ethical violations. What do you think?
KENNEDY: Well Mr. Pruitt and other members of the president’s cabinet, I would say ethics matter, impropriety matters, the appearance of impropriety matters. To the extent that you’re, stop acting like a chucklehead, stop the unforced error, stop leading with your chin. If you don’t need to fly first class don’t. Don’t turn on the siren on your SUV just to watch people move over, you represent the president of the United States. All of this behavior is juvenile, it’s distracting from the business that we’re trying to do for the American people.
BRENNAN: Should he keep his job?
KENNEDY: Well that’s really up to the president. I know what I would do if I were Mr. Pruitt, I would call a press conference tomorrow and I would say “Okay let’s talk about your criticisms of me.”
BRENNAN: Well he did give some interviews last week–
KENNEDY: Yeah, I would do a full blown press conference and say “Okay here are your criticisms. That’s fair. I’m going to stop doing it. Here’s what I think is not fair.” But, but these people are hurting the president and I’m not saying he’s not a good person. But–but the appearance of impropriety matters. And you can–you can–you can’t put lipstick on a pig.
BRENNAN: For you though, the president– the president and Scott Pruitt have alleged that all of this is just politically motivated by environmentalists who don’t like his deregulation–
KENNEDY: Some of it is–but all of it isn’t. I mean he either travels with 20 security folks or he doesn’t. He either flies first class every single time or he doesn’t. I don’t know what the allegations about his apartment are true or not. They don’t look good. Why do you want– in his position–why do you want to rent an apartment from a lobbyist for God’s sake? Stop leading with your chin. Now these are unforced errors. They are stupid. There are a lot of problems we can’t solve. But you can behave. I’m not–I don’t mean to denigrate Mr. Pruitt but doggone it he represents the president of the United States and it is hurting his boss and it needs to stop.
Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN