Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt has been vying for the title of poster boy for the Trump administration entitlement and scandal division, competing with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and former Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price over who could spend the most taxpayer dollars on first-class and private transportation costs.
Today, The Washington Post revealed that the EPA was considering leasing a private jet on a monthly basis to ferry Pruitt around the country.
The agency looked into the transportation option because of Pruitt’s distaste for flying in coach on commercial airlines, as most government employees are required to do. His aversion to taking commercial flights outside of the very front of the plane stems from the fact that as Pruitt began rescinding many of the regulations put in place during the Obama administration to protect the environment, he would be recognized while traveling and confronted by angry citizens who told him exactly what they thought of his corrupt energy industry-funded agenda.
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According to the Post‘s sources, all former or current EPA officials, rationality eventually prevailed when it was discovered that the lease with NetJets, the company that the agency had contacted about the private jet, would be prohibitively expensive at a cost of over $100,000 per month.
With controversy already swirling around the $43,000 soundproof phone booth Pruitt had installed in his office to ensure his conversations with energy industry lobbyists were not overheard, the tens of thousands of dollars spent on first class flights, and the Washington DC apartment he leased from the wife of an energy industry lobbyist at a rent price way below market value, Pruitt should consider himself lucky that the EPA rejected the idea of leasing a private jet or else he could be spending his days playing golf with Tom Price after collecting their unemployment checks.
An EPA spokesperson downplayed the significance of the latest scandal.
“This is not news,” EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox said on Monday. “EPA’s [chief financial officer] regularly receives solicitations for this type of travel, we did our due diligence, found it was not as cost efficient and continued to fly commercial.”
What Wilcox fails to grasp is that it’s Pruitt’s sense of entitlement and his desire to avoid facing the consequences of his policies that is the real scandal here. There are many important reasons that make people want to yell at Scott Pruitt. If he can’t take the heat, we don’t want to have to foot the bill to keep him out of the kitchen.
If Trump truly wanted to drain the swamp, firing Scott Pruitt would be the perfect way to start.