Pruitt ignored White House officials' advice not to do interviews on scandal: report

Pruitt ignored White House officials' advice not to do interviews on scandal: report
© Greg Nash

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittTrump admin appeals ruling ordering EPA to ban pesticide Government watchdog probing EPA’s handling of Hurricane Harvey response Wheeler won’t stop America’s addiction to fossil fuels MORE ignored the advice of White House officials who told him not to give media interviews amid the controversy over his condo rental agreement with the wife of an energy lobbyist last year.

The Washington Post reported Thursday that White House officials were concerned with Pruitt's recent appearances in conservative media, including on Fox News. 

They had advised the EPA chief not to give any interviews to news outlets on Tuesday and Wednesday, but Pruitt ultimately disregarded their pleas. 

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Pruitt has come under fire in recent days after it was revealed that he leased a room in a condo owned by the wife of a lobbyist with clients regulated by the EPA during his first several months in Washington. 

Pruitt reportedly paid $50 a day for that room, but only on nights when he actually slept there.

ABC News also reported that Pruitt's adult daughter stayed in a second bedroom in the condo last summer, while she was an intern at the White House.

Pruitt defended the living arrangements in an interview with Fox News's Ed Henry on Wednesday, in which he compared the situation to Airbnb, the online lodging service that allows users to rent out rooms or their homes short-term.

"This was like an Airbnb situation," Pruitt said. "When I was not there, the landlord, they had access to the entirety of the facility. When I was there, I only had access to a room."

Pruitt has also faced scrutiny for his use of first-class air travel and upscale hotel stays.

Hogan Gidley, a spokesman for the White House, declined on Thursday to comment on Pruitt's future at the EPA, even as he faces mounting calls from some lawmakers to resign.

"I can't speak to the future of Scott Pruitt,” Gidley told Fox News. "I can just talk about where we are now and that is that the White House is aware of these reports."