Trump offers public praise for Pruitt: 'Somebody has to say that'

Trump offers public praise for Pruitt: 'Somebody has to say that'
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpShocking summit with Putin caps off Trump’s turbulent Europe trip GOP lambasts Trump over performance in Helsinki Trump stuns the world at Putin summit MORE reaffirmed his support for embattled Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittEPA defends FOIA policy after criticism Why did it take so long for Trump to drain the swamp of Pruitt? New EPA chief draws sharp contrast to Pruitt MORE on Wednesday, saying that under him the agency is "doing really, really well."

"Thank you Scott, very much. EPA is doing really, really well,” Trump told Pruitt while praising Cabinet officials during a meeting at the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"Somebody has to say that about you a little bit, you know that, Scott," Trump added.

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The president's praise came as new controversies cropped up this week regarding Pruitt’s management of the EPA.

Reports have indicated that Pruitt used his position and an EPA aide to try to get his wife a fast food franchise and that he had another aide do personal tasks such as trying to buy a used Trump International Hotel mattress.

Multiple controversies surrounding Pruitt have spurred more than a dozen federal investigations and led to growing calls by Democrats, environmentalists and a few Republicans for him to step down or for Trump to fire him.

Trump, meanwhile, has continued to publicly praise Pruitt.

“I think he’s done a fantastic job. I think he’s done an incredible job,” Trump said in April.

“Rent was about market rate, travel expenses OK. Scott is doing a great job!” he tweeted.

The controversies include that Pruitt rented a condo from a lobbyist for $50 for every night he slept there, spent $3.5 million on a 24/7 security detail, gave raises to two close aides after the White House rejected his request and other matters.

Pruitt has curried significant favor with Trump, his allies and other conservatives for carrying out an aggressive deregulatory agenda, including efforts to roll back nearly all of the agency’s climate change regulations and major water and air pollution rules.