Pruitt wanted to highlight his name on EPA memorabilia: report
Administrator Scott Pruitt reportedly pushed last year for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to redesign its official memorabilia in ways emphasizing his name, and in some cases removing the agency’s logo.
The embattled EPA chief wanted the agency’s “challenge coin,” a commemorative medal used as a sign of one’s allegiance, to increase in size, bear his name in large letters around the rim and do away with the EPA logo featured on the current design, The New York Times reported on Wednesday.
Pruitt’s ideas for a redesign, which he floated to EPA employees during his first few months in office, sought to include symbols that represent himself, including a buffalo to denote his home state of Oklahoma and a Bible verse to represent his faith, according to the Times.
The former state attorney general reportedly told aides that the agency’s logo, a green flower with leaves, looked too much like a marijuana plant.
“These coins represent the agency,” said Ronald Slotkin, who served as the director of the EPA’s multimedia office until earlier this year. “But Pruitt wanted his coin to be bigger than everyone else’s and he wanted it in a way that represented him.”
Pruitt also wanted to remove the EPA seal from memorabilia including leather-bound notebooks and fountain pins, with his name to be featured more prominently.
EPA officials feared the changes would be too expensive, and that the removal of the EPA logo would be a breach of protocol.
An EPA spokesman told the Times that the agency never ordered redesigned coins.
“Administrator Pruitt does not have a challenge coin,” EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox told The Hill.
Once only given to top-performing military service members, other government agencies and the Office of the President have taken to issuing the “challenge coins” as keepsakes. Lisa Jackson, the first EPA administrator under former President Obama, designed the agency’s current coin.
President Trump also took personal interest in redesigning his administration’s edition of the coin, which is significantly larger than its predecessors and did away with the presidential seal in favor of an image of the White House. And instead of bearing the nation’s motto “E Pluribus Unum,” Trump’s coin has his campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has also added a personal touch to the department’s coin, with those issued last year stamped with his name.
Pruitt is currently battling a number of scandals over his leadership at EPA, with many related to controversial travel and living expenses.
Updated April 12 at 10:42 a.m.
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