John Kelly begged Trump to fire EPA Chief Scott Pruitt. Trump just made his decision

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Increasingly, the most toxic thing at the Environmental Protection Agency is its administrator, Scott Pruitt, who is under scrutiny for his excessive travel, unethical behavior, and usually large expenditures.

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Now the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Chief of Staff John Kelly has told President Trump that Pruitt must be the next to be fired. 

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However, Trump continues to defend Pruitt,

Trump, reports the Wall St. Journal, “values Pruitt’s deregulatory policies and commitment to his agenda.”

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There are even reports that instead of firing him, Trump might promote Pruitt to a more high profile position – possibly Attorney General – while Kelly is the one that appears to be in so much hot water that he is getting the cold shoulder from the president.

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Meanwhile, CNBC has a story with the headline: “‘Tired of being told no,’ Trump freezes out the chief of staff John Kelly.”

“Kelly,’ writes CNBC, “once empowered to bring order to a turbulent West Wing, has receded from view, his clout diminished, his word less-trusted by staff and his guidiance less tolerated by an increasingly go-it-alone president.”

“Those close to the president,” adds CNBC, “say that Trump has increasingly expressed fatigue at Kelly’s attempts to shackle him and that while Trump is not ready to fire Kelly, he has begun gradually freezing out his top aide.”

If there is any lesson from Trump’s recent firings of his Secretary of State, National Security advisor, Veteran Affairs chief, and others, it is that Trump values loyalty and adherence to his will as more important than competence, experience or knowledge.

So Pruitt, at least until the wind blows another way, seems to have his job, while Kelly increasingly looks like a dead man walking, and waiting for the inevitable end of his run in the West Wing.

If all this seems like the madness of an authoritarian leader run amock, that is because it is exactly that, which may be good news for Trump’s enemies but in the short term continues to be very bad news for the American people.

Benjamin Locke

Benjamin Locke is a retired college professor with an undergraduate degree in Industrial Labor and Relations from Cornell University and an MBA from the European School of Management.

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