New information reveals EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt receives a high volume of threats to his safety, giving credence to claims that his around-the-clock security is necessary for his protection.
Threats to Pruitt are much higher than in previous administrations, according to documents from the Office of the Inspector General obtained by E&E News. In fiscal year 2017, Pruitt was subjected to 16 different threats, a far higher number than the three hurled that year at Gina McCarthy, who served as EPA chief during former President Barack Obama’s second presidential term. Four threats against McCarthy were reported the year prior.
Pruitt and his family have been the target of different types of threats — ranging in severity — since he began leading the EPA.
For example, his daughter received threatening comments on Facebook throughout the spring of 2017. One gruesome message read, “I hope your father dies soon, suffering as your mother watches in horror for hours on end.” The threat was placed under IG investigation and it is believed that the Facebook account behind the message has been deleted.
An investigation was initiated when Republican Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford’s office received an email in April 2017 that read, “We support the assassination and execution of Scott Pruitt who will rape this country and the EPA.”
The email also called for the deaths of President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and “most other terrorist pig republicans.” Agents promptly interviewed the individual behind the message. The Oklahoma person claimed Pruitt was “just a pawn for the oil and gas industry,” but did not actually want to have him killed. Agents did not pursue prosecution, but did bar the person from entering any EPA facility.
Other threats, however, have been viewed as much less serious.
A special agent reviewed a Newsweek magazine that was placed inside an EPA headquarters elevator. Someone had drawn a mustache on Pruitt’s face, which was featured on the magazine’s cover. The agent found “no overt threat.” Other minor threats have been investigated.
New details on the threats against Pruitt emerge as he faces an avalanche of scrutiny and investigations into his conduct as EPA administrator, with many believing President Trump will ultimately give him the boot. At least 11 investigations are underway regarding Pruitt’s first-class air travel, money spent on security and office furnishings, questionable pay raises to staffers and numerous trips to his home state of Oklahoma on the taxpayers’ dime.
In his defense, the agency has maintained that the first-class air travel and 24/7 security detail is in response to an inordinate amount of threats Pruitt has received. The EPA leader has played an instrumental role in the Trump administration’s roll back of numerous Obama-era environmental regulations, drawing the strong ire of environmentalists and opponents of the White House.
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