The Washington Post’s most recent treatment of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s travel habits involved asking the pilot who landed a plane in the Hudson River if first class is safer than coach.
WaPo asked Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger III, a now-retired airplane pilot who once landed a damaged Airbus A320 in the Hudson River, about Pruitt’s recent claims regarding the relative safety of first class over coach.
Sullenberger reassured reporters in a Thursday report that, “First class is not safer than economy.” Sully is now an aviation and safety expert at CBS News, which also published a report earlier this month fleshing out aspects of Pruitt’s travel expenses.
CBS reported Tuesday that Pruitt traveled to Italy in June for meetings at the Vatican and to attend a summit with international energy ministers. The round-trip business-class flight cost at least $7,000, according to the report.
The entire trip cost more than $43,000 dollars, according to travel vouchers environmental activist group Environmental Integrity Project obtained. Government policy allows officials to pay for business class tickets if the flight is expected to last more than 14 hours.
Still, the media have taken on the issue with tenacity. WaPo, for its part, used a slew of airline safety and security experts Thursday in their report to shed sunshine on the agency chief’s use of first class.
“I cannot think of anything” that would make sitting upfront safer, Harro Ranter, chief executive of the Aviation Safety Network, said in response to reporter’s questions about which side of a plane was safest. “In an actual accident, best chances of survival are usually in the rear.”
WaPo even proposed one odd theory for why Pruitt has enjoyed first class flights while his Democratic predecessor, Gina McCarthy, has bypassed business flights.
“The narrative of a high-flying Trump Cabinet official is reminiscent of the repeated allegations that Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price took a host of charter flights at taxpayer expense,” WaPo reporter Dino Grandoni wrote Wednesday.
Price was forced to resign, according to Grandoni, because he is not President Donald Trump’s favorite child. “Pruitt has an advantage Price didn’t: President Trump likes Pruitt, and he is getting environmental deregulation done in a way Price was not able to do on health care,” he added.
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