WH: Pruitt ‘Would Acknowledge’ He Could Use Taxpayer Dollars Better

UNITED STATES - APRIL 23: Marc Short, White House legislative affairs director, attends a Senate Foreign Relations committee markup in Dirksen Building on the nomination of Mike Pompeo to be secretary of state on April 23, 2018.  (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call Group

The White House director of legislative affairs acknowledged on Wednesday that Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt could be a better steward of taxpayer dollars.

I think that we campaigned on a promise to drain the swamp,” Marc Short told CBS News Wednesday. “We have to – we have to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars, and I think that we take that promise seriously to the American people. I think that there are certain areas that the administrator would acknowledge were mistakes that he would want to fix.”

CBS’ Major Garrett then asked if that meant Pruitt could “do a better job” and Short said “yeah.”

“I think he would acknowledge that,” he said. “It’s factual to say that he has delivered on the agenda, and that is important. But I don’t think that you can say that simply delivering on the agenda excuses misuse of taxpayer dollars. I think that many of the things that are still going on with Scott Pruitt are under investigation, and we’re looking at it.”

While the White House has acknowledged that it is reviewing some of Pruitt’s lavish spending decisions, President Donald Trump has remained supportive of Pruitt, after weeks of reports about his spending on flights and a sound proof phone booth, around-the-clock security detail — even during family trips — and his sweetheart housing deal with the wife of an energy lobbyist.

Trump’s main defense of Pruitt has been the work the administrator has done to roll back regulations, but several Republican members of Congress and White House staff have called for scandal-plagued Pruitt to resign. 

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