President Donald Trump on Thursday wished the newly resigned EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt well, saying the avalanche of personal scandals Pruitt faced as administrator did not play a role in accepting his resignation.
“Scott Pruitt did an outstanding job inside of the EPA,” he told reporters aboard Air Force One, according to a pool report. “We’ve gotten rid of record breaking regulations and it’s been really good. You know, obviously the controversies with Scott, but within the agency we were extremely happy.”
“His deputy has been with me actually a long time,” Trump continued, referring to new EPA acting chief Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist. “He was very much an early Trump supporter. He was with us on the campaign. He is a very environmental person. He’s a big believer, and he’s going to do a fantastic job.”
Asked if there was any “final straw” for Pruitt in his eyes, Trump said there wasn’t, and that the choice to resign had been Pruitt’s, saying “it was very much up to him.”
“No final straw,” he said. “I think Scott saw that he was, he was, uh – look, Scott is a terrific guy. And he came to me and he said I have such great confidence in the administration. I don’t want to be a distraction. And I think Scott felt that he was a distraction.”
Trump added: “He’ll go on to great things and he’s going to have a wonderful life, I hope. But he felt that he did not want to be a distraction for an administration that he has a lot of faith in.”