Pruitt: My next flight will be coach

Greg Nash

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt said on Wednesday that he would be flying coach on his next flight.

The comment by Pruitt to CBS News’s “The Takeout” podcast comes as the EPA head faces scrutiny over reports that he used taxpayer funds to fly first class or on military jets on multiple occasions. 

“What I’ve told them going forward is this: There is a change occurring. You’re going to accommodate the security threats as they exist, you’re going to accommodate those in all ways, alternate ways, up to and including flying coach, and that is what’s going to happen on my very next flight,” Pruitt said, referring to his security team. “So those things are happening right away.”

The Washington Post reported in early February that Pruitt had spent thousands on travel, racking up at least $90,000 in taxpayer-funded travel over just part of June of 2017.

{mosads} Pruitt has defended his first-class flights, saying they were planned by his security detail for safety reasons.

“I’m not involved in any of those decisions,” he told The New Hampshire Union Leader earlier this month. “Those are all made by the [security] detail, the security assessment, in addition to the chief of staff.”

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) earlier this month pressed Pruitt about his use of first and business class while on government-funded trips. 

“Clearly, federal regulations prohibit a blanket waiver to fly first class except to accommodate disabilities or special needs. Instead, a waiver for each flight is required in order to fly first or business class when traveling on official government business,” Growdy said in a letter to Pruitt. 

EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox told The Hill that Pruitt used a “blanket waiver” that allowed him to fly first class. However, he later told Politico the EPA submitted a waiver for Pruitt on every trip.

Government employees must fly coach unless they are granted a specific waiver, according to U.S. law. 

Tags first class flights Scott Pruitt Scott Pruitt Trey Gowdy United States Environmental Protection Agency

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