Right now there is a concerted campaign underway by the left and the NeverTrump right to take down EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. Over the past few weeks, there has been a drumbeat of “scandals.” Pruitt flies business class (less often than his predecessor, Lisa Jackson or Gina McCarthy, but you can’t mention that because of “whataboutism” and because of hundreds of death threats he’s recieved), there was a “sweetheart deal” on a room in a DC townhouse ($1500/month isn’t all that much of a deal for a room and it was cleared by EPA ethics, but that doesn’t count) and an utter nothingburger about Pruitt using a completely legal route to get a couple of aides promotions.
For instance, this is what we know about McCarthy’s travel:
‘As the media continue to criticize Pruitt and his ‘luxury’ international travel, his expenses are nothing out of the ordinary – or even lower – compared to previous EPA directors under the Obama administration, who avoided the criticism. “The double standard couldn’t be more clear: Under Barack Obama’s EPA the media chose not to report on expenditures to protect the EPA administrator for international travel or the costs of their trips,’ Jahan Wilcox, an EPA spokesman, told the Washington Free Beacon. ‘But under the Trump administration the costs to protect our government officials is somehow scandalous.’ Lisa Jackson, who was Obama’s EPA director between 2009 and 2013, spent more than $332,000 on airfare and security for four international trips, on average $83,000 per trip, according to documents obtained by the Washington Free Beacon. She spent $64,963 for trips to Tel Aviv; $59,950 to Rio de Janeiro; $51,436 to Montreal; and $155,764 to Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shanghai. Gina McCarthy, the agency’s director between 2013 and 2017, embarked on 10 international trips, spending nearly $630,000 on airfare and security, on average $63,000 per trip. The documents revealed costs for McCarthy’s journeys to Ghana ($68,382), Peru ($45,140), Tokyo ($74,738), Paris ($41,321), Dubai ($90,368), Tokyo ($67,703), Florence ($56,193), Vancouver ($62,247), Vietnam ($68,268), and Beijing ($55,385).”
Mollie Hemingway at The Federalist has the scoop:
After Donald Trump, the individual in DC with the biggest target on his back is Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt. When he was attorney general of Oklahoma, he sued the EPA more than a dozen times to get the powerful regulatory agency to stay within its legal authority. His nomination was deeply concerning to radical environmentalists inside and outside the media. As a result, he and his team have been under a microscope since even before his confirmation in early 2017.
Well-funded environmental groups, many with former EPA staffers, deluge the agency with FOIA requests to catch someone in a scandal. Unlike how they covered Obama-era EPA administrators, media outlets constantly request information about everything Pruitt does, from his schedule to his travel particulars. Whipped-up partisans have made unprecedented numbers of death threats against him and his family. Powerful liberals opine against him.
Some suggest the death threats are understandable. Liberal Republican governors of New Jersey despise the man. Thomas Kean was calling on him to resign a year ago. Christine Todd Whitman gave inappropriately unserious comments about the death threats. Chris Christie did George Stephanopolous’ bidding by trying to throw Pruitt under the bus this past weekend. Maybe there is something in the water of Jersey.
The Weekly Standard‘s Bill Kristol, who this week tweeted his desire for Michelle Obama to run and defeat Donald Trump, said Pruitt was a parody of sycophancy for supporting a conservative deregulatory agenda. He also thrice tweeted his excitementover the possibility of leftists ousting Pruitt. Fellow NeverTrump enthusiast and Washington Post in-house conservative (really!) Jennifer Rubin also expressed giddiness about him possibly being fired.
Pruitt is a guy we should all be lining up to defend. Under Pruitt, the EPA accepted responsibility for the disastrous spill it created at the Gold King mine in Colorado. And he committed substantial resources to the clean-up. He’s prioritized the clean-up of Super Fund sites that have lingered for decades. He has taken fire and sword to the onerous regulatory straitjacket the Obama administration tried to impose on the US economy. Pruitt had begun the repeal of Obama’s Clean Power Plan coal regs and the Obama-era Clean Power Plan. Under Pruitt, an executive order was issued to rescind the EPA’s overreaching Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule that often allowed the EPA to claim jurisdiction over literal mudholes.
Three years after the lead-in-water crisis in Flint, MI, the EPA, under Pruitt acted.
This week, Pruitt acted to revise the absurd fuel efficiency standards established by the Obama administration.
And let’s not forget his key role in moving the Dakota Access Pipeline to completion.
And, yes, Pruitt had destroyed morale at the EPA. Under Pruitt, they are punished for watching porn at work and the US government no longer pays for health club memberships. But life is tough and we all have to make sacrifices.
This is just part of the ongoing strategy we see by the left and by Trump opponents on the right to attack solid conservatives doing a great job simply because they are serving in Trump’s administration. I understand why the left wants the guy gone. But Scott Pruitt is actively dismantling the economy killing regulatory regime constructed over the years and I don’t understand why anyone who claims to be any kind of Republican or conservative is going along with this sham…okay, I do understand but that doesn’t make it less loathsome.