Vulnerable GOP Lawmaker Urges Trump To Oust Pruitt Over ‘Corruption Scandals’

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Chris White Tech Reporter
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Two Republican lawmakers are urging President Donald Trump to fire EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt after reports showed the agency chief rented a room from the wife of a lobbyist.

Pruitt’s “corruption scandals are an embarrassment to the administration, and his conduct is grossly disrespectful to American taxpayers,” Rep. Carlos Curbelo of Florida wrote Tuesday in a tweet. He is facing a bruising re-election campaign in a district former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won in 2016.

Curbelo, a Republican who asked for Trump’s help campaigning for re-election, was not the only Republican in his state to ask the president to dismiss Pruitt. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who is retiring from Congress, echoed Curbelo’s sentiments in a statement to the reporters at The Huffington Post.

“When scandals and distractions overtake a public servant’s ability to function effectively, another person should fill that role,” she said. Curbelo and Ros-Lehtinen’s remarks come less than two days after former New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie told reporters that he doesn’t know how Pruitt can “survive this one.”

Curbelo and Ros-Lehtinen’s criticisms came after reports Tuesday afternoon showed Pruitt rented a bedroom in a Capitol Hill townhouse used for multiple GOP fundraising events while he stayed there. He rented the bedroom from the spouse of an energy lobbyist before he officially joined the Trump administration.

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The White House is reviewing how to handle Pruitt to “dig a little deeper,” an official told The Wall Street Journal. The EPA, meanwhile, is defending the former Oklahoma AG’s condo use, as well as his pricey flight travels, which were also scrutinized in February and March.

“As EPA career ethics officials stated in a memo, Administrator Pruitt’s housing arrangement for both himself and family was not a gift and the lease was consistent with federal ethics regulations,” agency spokesman Jahan Wilcox said in a statement about Pruitt’s condo usage.

Ousting Pruitt could be a heavy lift, though. He is widely considered one of the most effective officials in the Trump administration. Pruitt announced Monday, for instance, that the EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration would begin crafting new greenhouse gas emission and mileage standards for vehicles built in 2022 through 2025.

Pruitt also criticized former President Barack Obama as he targeted Trump’s predecessor’s regulatory legacy. The EPA’s announcement of the greenhouse gas emission revision will likely lead be met with support from states like Michigan and Ohio, both of which voted for Trump.

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