The Environmental Protection Agency scrambled to answer questions in 2019 from reporters who wanted to know why President Donald Trump was railing against low-flow toilets and faucets in December of that year, newly released documents show.
EPA’s press office went into overdrive that month as the president expressed the belief that the country’s low-flow toilets are inconveniencing people nationwide, according to a document Government Attic obtained through a public information request. The agency fielded questions about toilet-flushing standards and why Trump was railing against such inconveniences.
Government Attic, a private website that publishes government documents obtained through public records requests, published the documents Monday morning.
“You turn on the faucet, you don’t get any water,” the president said during a Dec. 9 White House round table. “They take a shower and water comes dripping out. It’s dripping out, very quietly dripping out. People are flushing toilets 10 times, 15 times, as opposed to once. They end up using more water. So EPA is looking at that very strongly at my suggestion.”
The agency’s press office reportedly scrambled to deal with the flow of reporters’ questions addressing the president’s comments. (RELATED: Trump Jokes About Getting Rid Of Light Bulbs That Make Him Look Orange)
“During the December press conference, the President raised legitimate concerns about EPA’s WaterSense program. EPA shared these concerns and the agency was already working to solve the issues highlighted by the President,” EPA spokeswoman Andrea Wood told the Daily Caller News Foundation, referring to an agency program that seeks to protect the country’s water supply.
She directed the DCNF to an April press release in which the EPA suggested officials discuss with the program’s stockholders to protect water resources while “saving consumers money and performing as well as or better than regular models.”
The EPA fielded a number of questions that month about what Trump intends on doing regarding the standards in light of his comments.
“President Trump announced this afternoon that EPA is reviewing standards for faucets, showerheads, and other bathroom fixtures,” Gregory Wallace, a CNN reporter, asked in a Dec. 6, 2019, email to the EPA press office. “He said, ‘We’re looking at changing the standards very soon.'”
Wallace added: “Could you provide further information about what standards the agency has under review and what action it is considering changing?”
Another reporter appeared to be befuddled as to why the president decided to lash out at the country’s toilets.
“This is the quote,” Timothy Gardner, a reporter at Reuters, asked then-EPA spokesman Michael Abboud. “Does EPA have a comment about what he is getting at?” Gardner included in his Dec. 6 email a copy of Trump’s quote during the White House roundtable discussion.
CBS reporter Rachel Layne asked Dec. 9 a series of questions addressing how toilet flushing impacts a citizen’s home finances. She asked: “How much does a typical flush cost as a part of a typical overall water bill?” and “What percentage of toilets are the more efficient versus older, less efficient kind?”
Trump joked during the same 2019 conference about eliminating lights bulbs that make him look orange. He made a similar joke in September when he announced that the EPA was reversing the regulations on light bulbs.
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