President’s EPA administrator caught in series of unforced errors…
(Lionel Parrott, Liberty Headlines) Even the staunchest conservatives are starting to abandon embattled Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Director Scott Pruitt, according to the Huffington Post.
This includes conservative columnist Rich Lowry of National Review and, most surprisingly, Senator James Inhofe.
Inhofe represents Oklahoma, Mr. Pruitt’s home state, and has been characterized as Pruitt’s “longtime mentor.”
Like Pruitt, Inhofe questions whether fossil fuels are the primary cause of alleged global warming.
In a radio interview with Laura Ingraham, Inhofe said the EPA chief “has really done some things that surprised me” and that it might be time for him to “leave that job.”
“All these things that are coming out are really not good things,” Inhofe stated. “I’ve kind of taken the position that if that doesn’t stop, I’m going to be forced to be in a position where I’m going to say, ‘Well, Scott, you’re not doing your job.’ And hopefully that will change.”
Ingraham seemed to agree with the senator, suggesting that Pruitt’s behavior in office was a distraction.
She’s not the only right-leaning pundit who feels that way.
On Tuesday in the National Review, columnist Rich Lowry made the case for why Republicans should want Pruitt ousted.
That’s a surprising take from someone who says he admired Pruitt when he was serving as Attorney General of Oklahoma and who waived off initial reports of malfeasance, like a $50-a-night condo deal from the wife of an energy lobbyist, a vastly expanded and highly costly security detail, and spending over $105,000 on first-class flights in his first year on the job.
But Lowry says that as more scandals came to light, his confidence in Pruitt wavered.
The additional stories included Pruitt taking an unnecessary trip to Morocco, improper use of an aide for apartment-hunting, using his security detail to run personal errands such as picking up his dry cleaning and trying to obtain an old mattress from a Trump hotel.
These activities, Lowry notes, were entirely unrelated to the mission of the EPA or any other legitimate government purpose.
It appears that the latest revelation was the final straw for the columnist – allegations that Pruitt also used staff to help secure employment for his wife, including by reaching out to the CEO of Chick-fil-A about getting her a restaurant franchise.
Lowry agrees the Left is desperate to defeat anti-regulation conservatives.
But this, he says, is all the more reason for Trump’s EPA administrator to be squeaky-clean rather than validating the Left’s attacks.
“If Pruitt is a hero of the Trump agenda, he’s not the only one capable of carrying it out,” wrote Lowry. “As Charles de Gaulle supposedly said, the graveyards are full of indispensable men – especially if they’ve become political liabilities and have Senate-confirmed deputies to pick up the same policy priorities with fewer distractions and, presumably, a more cohesive team.”
One of those deputies is Andrew Wheeler, a former lobbyist who once was an aide to Inhofe.
He’s now deputy administrator of the EPA and next in line to become agency chief if Pruitt resigns.
Inhofe seemed to favor that possibility.
“There’s a guy behind him in Andrew Wheeler who’s really qualified too,” he said. “So that might be a good swap.”