Energy & Environment

Two Republican lawmakers call for Pruitt to step down or be fired

Greg Nash

Two Florida GOP lawmakers on Tuesday called for Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt to either resign or be fired by President Trump.

Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) appeared to be the first Republican lawmaker to publicly request Pruitt’s dismissal. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) echoed his call shortly after.

In a Tuesday afternoon tweet, Curbello said Pruitt’s “corruption scandals are an embarrassment to the Administration, and his conduct is grossly disrespectful to American taxpayers.”

{mosads}

“It’s time for him to resign or for [Trump] to dismiss him.”

Ros-Lehtinen, who is retiring at the end of this Congress, said in a statement that she was on the same page.

“I agree with my colleague, Carlos, that the EPA administrator should resign,” she said. “When scandals and distractions overtake a public servant’s ability to function effectively, another person should fill that role.”

The comments come amid numerous controversies centering on Pruitt. On Tuesday alone, The Atlantic reported that the EPA chief gave two staffers raises after the White House rejected his request to do so, and The Washington Post reported that one of the staffers helped Pruitt shop for an apartment.

Other recent reports have found that Pruitt rented a condo from the wife of an energy lobbyist for just $50 for each day he slept there, the EPA explored leasing a private jet for him and White House chief of staff John Kelly considered firing him.

Curbelo and Ros-Lehtinen both represent very moderate districts and have been outspoken in their opposition to Trump on a number issues.

Curbelo represents a politically balanced district where Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton won by 16 points. The Florida Republican consistently faces close elections and has a tough reelection bid ahead of him in November’s midterm elections.

A poll commissioned by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and released Tuesday shows Curbelo with a narrow 45-40 lead over Democrat Debbie Mucarsel-Powell.

Curbelo has frequently clashed with Pruitt, other Trump administration officials and the president himself. He’s slammed the EPA head for working to repeal climate change policies, expressing doubt about climate science and opposing the Paris climate agreement.

Clinton won Ros-Lehtinen’s district in a district by 20 points, and Democrats expect to win the seat this fall.

Trump expressed support for Pruitt Tuesday, telling reporters, “I hope he’s going to be great.” Trump called Pruitt late Monday to say he and other leaders “have your back,” and Kelly made a similar call Tuesday.

Updated at 3:37 p.m.

Tags Carlos Curbelo Donald Trump Environmental Protection Agency Florida Hillary Clinton House Ileana Ros-Lehtinen John Kelly Scott Pruitt

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