Before it was reported that the White House was reviewing Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s decision to live in a home owned by the wife of an energy lobbyist last year, or that he defied the White House to give two of his closest aides a massive raise, the White House chief of staff wanted him out of the administration.
According to a White House official who spoke with the Wall Street Journal Friday, John Kelly told President Donald Trump last week that Pruitt should step down amid a series of negative news stories about the official’s excessive spending and management scandals. Pruitt has been plagued with negative press for months, but reports of his misuse of public funds have seen an uptick in recent weeks.
While Kelly and other White House aides have determined Pruitt’s time is up, Trump is not yet ready to push him out of the administration because he values the work he’s done to roll back regulations in his department, WSJ reported.
Trump voiced public support for Pruitt on Friday, claiming the EPA chief was “under siege,” despite Trump’s cryptic comments to reporters earlier this week saying he “hope(s)” Pruitt will be successful.
Pruitt has faced widespread scrutiny for his reported use of round-the-clock security agents — who he claims he needs because he’s faced unprecedented threats, like people yelling curse words at him in public — and his excessive spending on ventures like first class flights and a sound proof phone booth.