In the midst of a growing number of scandals embroiling EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is calling for his resignation.
In a statement released Friday, Pelosi said that Pruitt's “tenure has been a part of the Trump Administration’s culture of corruption, cronyism and incompetence. Pruitt must resign.”
“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,” she added.
A frequent target of criticism from the left for his work to undo environmental regulations put in place under the Obama administration, Pruitt has since given more ammunition to his detractors through a series of heavily reported scandals.
Most recently, The New York Times reported that Pruitt was reassigned EPA officials who questioned his ethical decisions, including a directive to use lights and sirens to avoid traffic en route to a popular D.C. restaurant.
Pruitt has also been criticized for extensive security spending, including the construction of a $25,000 soundproof booth in his office to take phone calls privately. He also took fire for booking expensive first class airfares for domestic travel, citing vague security reasons as justification.
The embattled cabinet-level official has also been criticized for his regular taxpayer-funded trips back to Oklahoma, frequent overseas travel, and a leasing arrangement with a lobbyist that saw Pruitt living in a condo in D.C.'s expensive Capitol Hill neighborhood for just $50 a night.
Still, Pruitt seemed rejected any characterization of his behavior as embodying the very swamp-like behavior President Trump railed against in his 2016 presidential campaign. In an interview with Fox News' Ed Henry — an interview the White House reportedly urged him to avoid — Pruitt called the line of questioning unfair.
Watch Pruitt's interview with Fox News below:
“President Trump said he would drain the swamp,” Henry said as Pruitt attempted to interrupt him. “Is 'draining the swamp' renting an apartment from a Washington lobbyist?”
“I don't think that that's even remotely fair to ask that question,” Pruitt answered.
Minority Leader Pelosi also took aim at the behavior of multiple members of Trump's cabinet in her Friday statement, but only singled out Pruitt by name:
Multiple members of Trump’s Cabinet are under federal investigation for graft, corruption and sticking taxpayers with the multi-million dollar bill for their extravagance and lavish lifestyles. Republicans in Congress need to end their complicity, and finally take action to hold Pruitt and this Administration accountable for their abuses.
The health of our children is the price we pay for this Administration’s utter contempt for clean air and clean water, and the free rein they have given special interests to pollute our communities.
But Pelosi's call for Pruitt's resignation came just hours after Trump took to Twitter to defend the EPA chief and deny a report that he was planning to pick him to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
“Do you believe that the Fake News Media is pushing hard on a story that I am going to replace A.G. Jeff Sessions with EPA Chief Scott Pruitt, who is doing a great job but is TOTALLY under siege?” Trump wrote.
Do you believe that the Fake News Media is pushing hard on a story that I am going to replace A.G. Jeff Sessions with EPA Chief Scott Pruitt, who is doing a great job but is TOTALLY under siege? Do people really believe this stuff? So much of the media is dishonest and corrupt!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 6, 2018
“Do people really believe this stuff,” he added. “So much of the media is dishonest and corrupt!”