Conservatives Circle The Wagons Around Troubled EPA Administrator

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Thomas Phippen Thomas Phippen is acting editor in chief at the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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Conservative leaders expressed support for embattled EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt as Democrats and activists call for his resignation.

More than sixty conservatives signed a memo of support for Pruitt on Friday, hailing the administrator’s significant role in implementing President Donald Trump’s deregulatory agenda.

“President Trump campaigned on reducing Washington’s bureaucracy, and Administrator Pruitt has been instrumental to that effort,” the memo says. “His leadership has helped President Trump keep his promises in a number of critical areas which conservatives support.”

Conservatives appreciate Pruitt’s work finalizing 22 deregulatory actions allowing businesses to save more than $1 billion in compliance costs, cleaning up Superfund sites, and ending the agency’s “sue-and-settle agreements,” which conservatives allege has been manipulated by radical environmentalists for years in order “to use taxpayer money to dictate energy and environmental policy.”

“He is critical to President Trump’s efforts to streamline agency efforts in a way that assists American families and the economy. We applaud President Trump for his appointment of Scott Pruitt and support his continued tenure at the EPA,” the letter says.

Among the signers are Jim DeMint, former senator and former president of the Heritage Foundation, FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon, David Keene, Washington Times editor-at-large, and a host of others. (Neil Patel, president of The Daily Caller News Foundation and CEO of The Daily Caller, is one of the signatories of the letter.)

Democrats and environmental activists have called for Pruitt’s resignation for months, but even though the negative headlines have increased in recent days, Trump has been publicly unwavering in his support. Pruitt is “doing a great job but is TOTALLY under siege,” Trump said in a tweet Friday denying reports he was considered replacing Attorney General Jeff Sessions with Pruitt.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called directly for Pruitt’s resignation Friday, saying his “tenure has been a part of the Trump Administration’s culture of corruption, cronyism and incompetence.”

“Pruitt has displayed a staggering ethical blindness, and his abuses of office are representative of an Administration that uses their powerful positions to enrich themselves and their friends,” Pelosi said.

The host of alleged scandals surrounding Pruitt include his frequent use of government funds to book first class flights instead of coach seats, which The New York Times estimates cost taxpayers $120,000 and a five-day staff trip to Morocco worth $40,000.

He also reportedly rented room in an energy lobbyist’s Washington, D.C., condo for $50 a night, an arrangement ethics officials found to be a fair market value, according to the EPA.

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