Trump doubles down on defence of embattled EPA chief

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly demanded Tuesday that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt tell him if any more scandalous shoes were about to drop

"After all, we don't know the extent of the recommendations made by Mr. Pruitt's security team". With the cost of maintenance, gas, and training for agents, that leaves the dollar amount for his round-the-clock security in the millions.

Pruitt's predecessor, Gina McCarthy, had a security detail that numbered about a half dozen, less than a third the size of Pruitt's. He also said his living arrangement was approved by an EPA ethics official.

UPDATE: The AP reports "total security costs approached $3 million".

When asked if Pruitt should keep his job, Kennedy wouldn't give him an up or down vote.

That increase in spending came as the Trump administration shared plans for cutting the EPA's budget by about 30%, including major cuts to the agency's enforcement work and staffing and the elimination of some programs.

At least three congressional Republicans and a chorus of Democrats have called for Pruitt's ouster.

"While I consider matters of personal security to be extremely serious, personal security should never be used as a pretext to obtain special treatment", Senator Whitehouse said in a letter to the EPA inspector general.

'If you don't need to fly first class, don't, ' Kennedy said.




Then during a trip to Italy in June, Pruitt was accompanied by nine aides and a security detail that cost more than $120,000. He has also been criticized for taking private and military flights instead of flying commercial. "In Pruitt's home state, the two regulations would avert as many as 720 premature deaths and save as much as $5.9 billion per year." br br Pruitt a href="http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/courts/oklahoma-attorney-general-scott-pruitt-sues-epa-again/article_c603ba08-dd62-5b0a-ad3e-e4b8d0e2d977.html" sued /a the EPA in 2015 over the a href="http://www2.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-05/documents/rule_preamble_web_version.pdf" target="_blank" Waters of the United States rule /a - which, in a piece co-written with Sen.

"But on policy grounds alone I think Scott Pruitt is the wrong person to head the EPA", Collins said.

Wilcox said Pruitt has faced an unprecedented number of death threats against him and his family and "Americans should all agree that members of the President's cabinet should be kept safe from these violent threats".

Taxpayers have paid more to safeguard Pruitt than past EPA chiefs but those expenditures are justified due to the fact Pruitt has been under threat, Trump wrote.

Trump is of course referring to three separate scandals which have embroiled Pruitt: his unprecedented security force and its extraordinary cost; the affordable condo he rented in Washington, D.C. from a lobbyist with business before the EPA, and his high travel expenses.

Amy Lieu is a news editor and reporter for Fox News.

On Friday, CNN reported that the couple, Vicki and Steven Hart, forced Pruitt out of the apartment by changing the code on their locks after the they became increasingly frustrated with him as a tenant.

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