Trump told Pruitt to ‘cool it’ amid controversies: report
President Trump told EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to “cool it” on attracting negative media attention during a recent White House Cabinet meeting, The Washington Post reported Friday.
During an April 9 gathering with Cabinet officials, Trump reportedly discussed several of Pruitt’s ongoing scandals, including reports that Pruitt lived in a condo for months owned in part by the wife of a top energy lobbyist.
In the meeting, Trump reportedly questioned the findings of the EPA’s own ethics officials, who had determined that Pruitt’s $50 per night deal to stay in the condo was at market rate.
“Cool it,” Trump reportedly said, referring to Pruitt’s bad press.
The president also expressed support, however, for some of Pruitt’s work at the agency which has seen its size reduced to levels not seen in decades.
EPA staffing was “down to Reagan-era levels,” Pruitt told the president.
“All right, Scott,” Trump responded approvingly, according to the newspaper.
Pruitt has spent much of the past few weeks seeking to escape the negative stories hounding him, with one anonymous White House official telling the Post that Pruitt “believes in an audience of one.”
Trump has expressed public support for Pruitt on Twitter as the stories continued to build, tweeting that Pruitt was “doing a great job” earlier in April, two days before his “cool it” remark reportedly occurred.
Pruitt still faces a mountain of negative coverage over a number of other scandals, including reports that he directed staff to approve raises for two aides who had pay increases rejected by the White House, as well as reports of his above-average spending on security measures.
Democrats have urged Trump to fire Pruitt over the scandals, a position reportedly supported by White House chief of staff John Kelly.