Scott Pruitt, the embattled head of the Environmental Protection Agency, has resigned, President Trump tweeted Thursday. Bernard Sanders, Vermont independent, said in a statement after news of Mr. Pruitt's resignation broke.
In a tweet Thursday afternoon, Trump said he had accepted the resignation of the beleaguered EPA chief. This says nothing good about Mr. Pruitt, who combines ravenous ambition with a faulty moral compass, or about the president, who still appears to value loyalty, whether based in sincerity or cynicism, over the public good.
"Despite his brief tenure, Pruitt was the worst EPA chief in history", said Kieran Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., the panel's former chairman and a political mentor to both Pruitt and Wheeler. The president cheered his EPA chief's moves to boost fossil fuel production and roll back regulations opposed by corporate interests. Many of the EPA regulations Pruitt scraped or delayed had not yet taken effect, and the tens of thousands of lost coal mining jobs the president pledged to bring back never materialized. Wheeler acknowledged he attended but said he couldn't remember any details.
Pruitt, 50, and his office, which he led since 2017, had come under fire for extravagant spending habits, including on first-class travel, pay raises to top aides and a $43,000 soundproof booth.
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At the time, the president was feuding with Sessions over the AG's decision to recuse himself from the Russian Federation investigation, according to CNN, which cited three people familiar with Pruitt's pitch. But he told The Washington Post, which first uncovered the blog post past year, that he came to support Trump later in 2016, after Rubio exited the race, when Trump spoke at an event hosted by coal mining company Murray Energy Corp., one of his lobbying clients. No longer a federal employee, Pruitt can't be compelled to speak or otherwise cooperate with the inspector general's investigation.
The senator praised Wheeler past year when he was nominated to the EPA deputy administrator post, saying, "there is no one more qualified than Andrew to help Scott Pruitt restore EPA to its proper size and scope".
Pruitt previously served as Oklahoma attorney general, a role in which he repeatedly sued the EPA. "Americans will not tolerate another EPA administrator whose primary goal is to fight the core mission of the EPA".