Sen. John Kennedy on Sunday urged embattled EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to “behave,” as mounting ethics controversies swirl around him.
“These are unforced errors. They’re stupid. There are a lot of problems we can’t solve. But you can behave,” the Louisiana Republican said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
“I don’t mean to denigrate Mr. Pruitt,” the senator went on, “but doggone it, he represents the president of the United States, and it is hurting his boss. And it needs to stop.”
Pruitt has come under fire for a series of ethics controversies, including renting a room from a lobbyist couple, using taxpayer dollars to travel first-class and spending millions on extra security and a soundproof phone booth. The EPA inspector general has opened multiple investigations.
But even as the media chorus grew louder last week — and a few House Republicans joined dozens of Democrats in calling for Pruitt’s exit — President Donald Trump has publicly held firm in his support.
“Record clean Air & Water while saving USA Billions of Dollars. Rent was about market rate, travel expenses OK. Scott is doing a great job!” the president tweeted Saturday evening.
Kennedy suggested that Pruitt hold a press conference to address the criticisms.
Sen. Susan of Collins of Maine, the only Republican to vote against Pruitt’s nomination last year, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that her vote had been vindicated by Pruitt’s actions.
“This daily drip of accusations of excessive spending and ethical violations serve to further distract the agency from accomplishing its very important mission,” she said. “Congress needs to do some oversight. … But on policy grounds alone, I think Scott Pruitt is the wrong person to head the EPA.”
And Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said on ABC’s “This Week” that he liked Pruitt’s accomplishments at the EPA, but was waiting to see where congressional oversight led.
“If you’re the EPA administrator and two lobbyists change the locks, you’ve got a problem,” Graham said. “The bottom line: This doesn’t look good.”