Grassley: Pruitt resigning the 'right decision'
© Greg Nash
GOP Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleySenators push to clear backlog in testing rape kits Controversial Trump judicial nominee withdraws The Hill's Morning Report — Trump’s walk-back fails to stem outrage on Putin meeting MORE (Iowa) said on Thursday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpNFL freezes policy barring players from protesting during anthem McConnell spokesman on Putin visit: 'There is no invitation from Congress' Petition urges University of Virginia not to hire Marc Short MORE made the "right decision" by accepting Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittZinke left some details off public calendar: report EPA watchdog faults ‘management weaknesses’ in Flint water crisis House completes first half of 2019 spending bills MORE's resignation, saying the embattled Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief's scandals had become a distraction. 
 
“President Trump made the right decision. Administrator Pruitt’s ethical scandals and his undermining of the President’s commitment to biofuels and Midwest farmers were distracting from the agency’s otherwise strong progress to free the nation of burdensome and harmful government regulations," Grassley said in a statement. 
 
He added that "fewer things are more important for government officials than maintaining public trust. Administrator Pruitt, through his own actions, lost that trust." 
 
Trump announced on Thursday that he had accepted Pruitt's resignation, effective Friday, following months of high-profile controversies regarding his spending, ethics and management at the agency.
 
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Pruitt had faced a months-long drip of scandals, including intense criticism this week over reports that he maintained a secret, internal calendar that he directed aides to change from the public version they released.

 
GOP senators have said his future atop the EPA was up to Trump. But they were increasingly signaling that they believed he was becoming a distraction, despite approving of his efforts to roll back Obama-era regulations. 
 
 
Grassley had previously threatened to call for Pruitt to resign over ethanol policy. 
 
He issued the threat in May as part of a warning to Pruitt against the EPA’s reported “hardship” waivers, which are given to fuel refineries to exempt them from the federal ethanol mandate under the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Trump said in his tweet on Thursday that Pruitt will be replaced Monday by EPA Deputy Administrator Andrew Wheeler, a former energy lobbyist who was confirmed to his No. 2 position in April.
 
Grassley added that he hopes Wheeler "views this as an opportunity to restore this Administration’s standing with farmers and the biofuels industry."