Gowdy mocks Pruitt's travel spending: Maybe he should become ‘a monk’ instead

Rep. Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyGowdy requests FEMA administrator’s travel records amid allegations Nunes: Russia probe documents should be released before election Gowdy: House Intel panel should release all transcripts from Russia probe MORE (R-S.C.) on Sunday mocked Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittGovernment watchdog probing EPA’s handling of Hurricane Harvey response Wheeler won’t stop America’s addiction to fossil fuels Overnight Energy: Trump rolls back methane pollution rule | EPA watchdog to step down | China puts tariffs on US gas MORE's insistence on traveling first-class due to security concerns, saying he should consider becoming a monk if he doesn't want people to be mean to him.

"If you sit first-class, you're guaranteed to come into contact with everybody else on the plane. If you really want to avoid everybody on the plane, sit in the last seat, not the first seat," Gowdy told Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday."

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"I'd be shocked if that many people knew who Scott Pruitt was, so the notion that 'I’ve got to fly first class because I don’t want people to be mean to me' — you need to go into another line of work if you don’t want people to be mean to you. Like maybe a monk," he continued. 

Pruitt has been embroiled in a series of controversies involving excessive spending. 

The EPA confirmed last month that Pruitt's security detail has accompanied him in first-class on past flights. 

"These circumstances include, but are not limited to, situations when the '[use] of coach-class accommodations would endanger [one's] life or Government property' or an agent on protective detail is 'accompanying an individual authorized to use other than coach-class accommodations,' " EPA Associate Administrator Troy Lyons wrote in a letter to Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. 

"The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Protective Service Detail has identified specific, ongoing threats associated with the Administrator's air travel and, therefore, shifted his class based on certain security protocols that require him to be near the front of the plane," the letter said. "This location allows the Administrator's security agents to expeditiously exit with him upon the occurrence of a threat."

Earlier in the year, Pruitt said he traveled first-class because of security concerns, citing the tense political environment.

Official documents released by the EPA last month revealed that Pruitt's security detail often adds significant costs to his travel. During a trip to Italy and the Vatican last June, Pruitt's security cost taxpayers more than $30,000, according to the travel vouchers.