WASHINGTON – Embattled Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt didn’t find much support Sunday from fellow Republicans, with one senator suggesting he learn to “behave.”
Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) slammed Pruitt for his repeated ethical lapses that have conflicted with the Trump administration’s promise to “drain the swamp” in Washington.
“Stop acting like a chucklehead,” Kennedy said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
“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,” Kennedy continued.
“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.”
Pruitt has been in hot water for his first-class travel, expansive security detail, protocol-breaking personnel raises and $50 per night rent at a Washington, D.C., lobbyist’s home.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Pruitt may be doing good work at the EPA, but he takes issue with Pruitt living in a home owned by a health care lobbyist, whose husband is an energy lobbyist.
“If you’re the EPA administrator, and two lobbyists change the locks, you’ve got a problem,” Graham told ABC’s “This Week.” “The bottom line this doesn’t look good… I don’t think you could get a room for $50 a night (in Washington).”
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said Pruitt’s actions in office have reaffirmed her original no vote against his confirmation in the Senate.
“I believe my position was the correct one and has been validated by his actions,” Collins told CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Collins said Congress needs to do some oversight because the “daily drip of accusations of excessive spending and ethical violations serve to further distract the agency.”
Despite the ethical investigations, Pruitt has retained the support of Trump.
“Scott is doing a great job!” Trump tweeted Saturday.
Pruitt has also built up goodwill with the conservative base for his commitment to roll back Obama-era regulations that had irked energy producers and manufacturers.
Pruitt found a sympathizer Sunday in Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) who said critics are just finding ways to “nitpick” an EPA chief who is carrying out Trump’s agenda.
Pruitt should stay in the job because “he’s following through with the policies that the president said he wanted to implement,” Rounds told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“We’ll nitpick little things. He has too many people on his security detail. It may add up to more than what the previous guy did. … We said we had to have regulatory reform. We’ve got it. Scott Pruitt is a big part of that.”