Christine Todd Whitman, who led the Environmental Protection Agency under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2003, came out strongly against President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for that job Monday.
“I don’t recall ever having seen an appointment of someone who is so disdainful of the agency and the science behind what the agency does,” Whitman told the non-profit environmental publication Grist, referring to Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt.
“It doesn’t put us in a good place, in my mind,” she said of Pruitt’s relationship with the EPA, which he sued 13 times in five years as attorney general in the Sooner State. “And he’s going to have trouble within the agency if he does convey that kind of disdain to the career staff.”
Whitman, who was governor of New Jersey before joining Bush’s cabinet, was a notably high profile Republican opponent of Trump during the presidential campaign. She was also known as a centrist in Bush’s cabinet, reportedly advising him not to reject the Kyoto Protocol, an international environmental agreement (Bush ultimately rejected the deal).
“He obviously doesn’t care much for the agency or any of the regulations it has promulgated,” Whitman told Grist of Pruitt. “He doesn’t believe in climate change; he wants to roll back the Clean Power Plan.”
Whitman also expressed concern for the health of the agency as a whole under the incoming Trump administration.
“I worry about people retiring and losing institutional knowledge,” she told Grist. “They can slow things down, but he could too, and put a hard stop to regulations.”
This article has been updated.