Amid a pile of controversy, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt handed his resignation letter to President Trump on Thursday.
On-board Air Force One, Trump told reporters Pruitt “came to me and said, he said, ‘I have such great confidence in the administration. I don’t want to be a distraction.’ And I think Scott felt that he was a distraction.”
Pruitt’s letter of resignation stated, “The unrelenting attacks on me personally, my family, are unprecedented and have taken a sizable toll on all of us,” according to NPR.
“I have accepted the resignation of Scott Pruitt as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency,” President Trump said in a tweet announcing the departure. “The Senate confirmed Deputy at EPA, Andrew Wheeler, will on Monday assume duties as the acting Administrator of the EPA.”
…on Monday assume duties as the acting Administrator of the EPA. I have no doubt that Andy will continue on with our great and lasting EPA agenda. We have made tremendous progress and the future of the EPA is very bright!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 5, 2018
Pruitt was the subject of several ethics investigations. Here are some of the most notable allegations, according to Fortune Magazine.
- Pruitt fired an aide after she refused to alter appointments on his calendar
- Pruitt asked staff to find his wife a job with a salary of at least $200,000
- Pruitt used official channels to try to get a Chick-fil-A franchise for his wife
- Pruitt used secret email addresses instead of official ones
- Pruitt used a loophole to award raises to staff without White House knowledge
- Pruitt rented a Washington, D.C. apartment at a steep discount from a lobbyist
- Pruitt generated excessive travel spending by chartering flights and flying first class
- Pruitt had a $43,000 soundproofed phone booth installed in his office
- Pruitt ordered an excessive, unprecedented security detail
Comments from the left came swiftly and harshly. Scott Pruitt was the worst EPA administrator in the history of the agency,” Senator Bernie Sanders tweeted. “Not only has he acted, time and time again, in an unethical manner, but he has led the agency in exactly the wrong direction.”
Scott Pruitt was the worst EPA administrator in the history of the agency. Not only has he acted, time and time again, in an unethical manner, but he has led the agency in exactly the wrong direction. https://t.co/iRUR6sST5e
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) July 5, 2018
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi used Trump’s signature line to deliver this blow, “One down with the resignation of @EPAScottPruitt, dozens more to go until we’ve drained the swamp of the Trump Admin’s toxic culture and corruption.”
— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) July 5, 2018
Prior to becoming head of the EPA, Pruitt spent three years as attorney general of Oklahoma. Reuters reported yesterday that Pruitt had recently asked President Trump to fire US Attorney General Jeff Sessions and appoint himself as the replacement, an accusation denied by Pruitt.