News ID: 212855
Published: 0450 GMT April 08, 2018

Trump defends Scott Pruitt as calls grow on him to resign

Trump defends Scott Pruitt as calls grow on him to resign
US President Donald Trump (L) and Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt (FILE PHOTO)

US President Donald Trump has defended his Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt, who has come under scrutiny over lavish spending on his security and travel.

In a tweet on Saturday, Trump acknowledged Pruitt’s spending was significantly more than previous EPA chiefs, but said it was necessary as he has received death threats, presstv.com reported.

In order to have added protection for himself, Pruitt has blown through overtime budgets and diverted officers away from investigating environmental crimes.

His security team consists of 19 agents and has a fleet of at least 19 vehicles, a source with direct knowledge of Pruitt's security detail said.

The size of his security is unprecedented as none of his predecessors has ever received a 24/7 security detail, the agency's inspector general has said.

The EPA confirmed last month that Pruitt’s private security detail accompanied him on first-class flights.

According to a CNN report last October, salaries alone for his security team cost at least $2 million a year.

Pruitt's travel records show that the cost of his December trip to Morocco to promote US exports of LNG amounted to $17,000 in taxpayer money. Marketing US LNG is not the jurisdiction of the EPA administrator.

The White House is reviewing Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt’s activities after reports he paid below the market rate to live in a condo owned by a lobbyist.

Pruitt is also mired in a lengthy list of potential ethics scandals, including the revelation two of his aides were granted huge pay rises against White House direction. 

He also paid below the market rate to live in a condo owned by a lobbyist who deals with issues overseen by the agency.

Pruitt is one of several members of Trump’s Cabinet who have come under scrutiny for their travel practices.

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly last week told Trump that Pruitt should step down, according to The Wall Street Journal.

In his defense, Pruitt has told Washington Examiner that all the criticisms he has received were a result of Trump's enemies in ‘toxic’ Washington who will ‘resort to anything’ to stop their agenda.

   
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