Interim EPA chief called Trump a ‘bully’ during campaign

Interim EPA chief called Trump a ‘bully’ during campaign
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The incoming interim head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) during the presidential campaign called President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden, Sanders lead field in Iowa poll The Memo: Cohen fans flames around Trump Memo Comey used to brief Trump on dossier released: report MORE a “bully” who “really hasn’t been that successful” in business.

Andrew Wheeler, who has been the EPA’s deputy administrator since April and will soon be acting administrator thanks to Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittInterior chief Zinke to leave administration EPA to pursue final 'science transparency' rule in 2019 Trump administration to unveil strategy for fighting lead exposure MORE's resignation, wrote the comments in a February 2016 Facebook post.

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In the post, Wheeler, a former energy lobbyist, wrote a six-part condemnation of Trump. It included that “no one really knows what his political beliefs are,” “he doesn’t really understand how government works,” “he has more baggage then all other Republican candidates combined” and “he is a bully.”

At the time, Wheeler supported Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioKevin McLaughlin tapped to serve as NRSC executive director for 2020 Senate votes to end US support for Saudi war, bucking Trump Senators offer measure naming Saudi crown prince 'responsible' for Khashoggi slaying MORE (R-Fla.) for president. But he told The Washington Post, which first uncovered the blog post last year, that he came to support Trump later in 2016, after Rubio exited the race, when Trump spoke at an event hosted by coal mining company Murray Energy Corp., one of his lobbying clients.

“I made those comments during my time working on the Rubio presidential campaign,” Wheeler said in a statement to The Hill. “In June 2016, I attended a speech from then candidate Donald Trump in Wheeling, WV. He gave a 40-minute energy speech where he didn’t use notes or a teleprompter. And as I have stated previously it was the most comprehensive energy speech by a presidential candidate I had ever heard. I then joined the Trump campaign and worked on environmental policy for him.”

Trump pointed out to reporters late Thursday that Wheeler had helped with his presidential campaign, though he incorrectly said that Wheeler backed Trump from early on.

“He was very much an early Trump supporter. He was with us on the campaign,” Trump said. “He is a very environmental person. He’s a big believer, and he’s going to do a fantastic job.”

Pruitt announced his resignation on Thursday, following a barrage of ethics and spending scandals that have overshadowed his time as EPA chief.