President Donald Trump isn’t quite ready to abandoned his EPA chief Scott Pruitt, defending him in a tweet Friday morning, while also dismissing a report that Attorney General Jeff Sessions would be ousted in favor of Pruitt.
“Do you believe that the Fake News Media is pushing hard on a story that I am going to replace A.G. Jeff Sessions with EPA Chief Scott Pruitt, who is doing a great job but is TOTALLY under siege?” wrote Trump. “Do people really believe this stuff? So much of the media is dishonest and corrupt!”
Earlier this week, CNN reported that, far from being terminated, President Trump was considering a promotion for his EPA administrator.
“He was 100% still trying to protect Pruitt because Pruitt is his fill-in for Sessions,” an unnamed person who is familiar with the situation told the network.
The CNN report, however, contradicts other news reports on the matter.
The EPA chief has faced multiple scandals this week, including upping the salaries of friends working in his agency (after the White House expressly told him not to) and staying in a rental property owned by an energy lobbyist for far below market value.
Pruitt also sat for a poorly received interview with Fox News reporter Ed Henry, who subjected him to merciless grilling on Wednesday evening.
“If you’re committed to the Trump agenda, why did you go around the president and the White House to give pay raises to two staffers?” Henry demanded.
“I did not. My staff did. I found out about that yesterday and I changed it. I issued a statement yesterday walking back those pay raises that should not have been done,” Pruitt stammered. It went south from there.
As a press briefing that same day, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders declined to defend Pruitt as his troubles mounted.
“The president thinks that he’s done a good job, particularly on the deregulation front,” Sanders told reporters. “But again, we take this seriously and we’re looking into it, and we’ll let you know when we’re finished.”