Pruitt postpones Israel trip amid controversy over first-class travel

Pruitt postpones Israel trip amid controversy over first-class travel

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy: Controversial Trump adviser reportedly returning to EPA | Delta aims to be first carbon neutral airline | Dem senator gives EPA D-minus on 'forever chemicals' Architect of controversial EPA policies to return as chief of staff: report EPA asked to justify proposal to limit power of its science advisers MORE has delayed a planned visit to Israel amid criticism over his use of first-class and business-class flights. 

“We decided to postpone; the administrator looks forward to going in the future,” EPA spokeswoman Liz Bowman confirmed to The Hill in an email.

The postponement was first reported by The Washington Post

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Pruitt had been scheduled to arrive in Israel on Sunday and remain in Jerusalem until Thursday to meet with officials to discuss Israel’s infrastructure and environmental challenges, the Post reported. 

According to Israeli officials who spoke to the newspaper, the EPA head was planning to stay in the storied King David Hotel. 

The newspaper reported a week ago that Pruitt had racked up thousands of dollars in expenses by taking first-class or business-class flights to conferences and other engagements. 

Pruitt told the New Hampshire Union Leader that the flights were dictated by security concerns, saying “we live in a very toxic environment politically.”

He also said that he flies first class on airplanes due to past interactions that have "not been the best."

The EPA later revealed that individuals approached Pruitt in the airport multiple times and yelled profanities at him, including one person who shouted “Scott Pruitt, you’re f---ing up the environment.”

Pruitt and his family have received far more threats than previous EPA administrators. E&E News reported that the EPA’s inspector general opened about 70 investigations into threats in 2017, a little less than double the previous year.