Senior White House aides are exasperated with Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, the already embattled Cabinet secretary who now finds himself at the center of an expanding controversy over his decision to rent a room in Washington, DC, from the family of an energy lobbyist.
The White House has yet to officially comment on Pruitt’s standing, but a government official tells CNN that the lack of responsiveness shows they are not ready to step in and defend Pruitt, who they believe has created a series of headaches for an administration looking to move past controversies involving Cabinet secretaries.
A White House official said the source of the frustration stems from the fact that White House officials began learning about this issue from media reports, not Pruitt himself, an issue that officials have complained about in the past over controversies involving Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and recently-fired Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin.
Pruitt rented a room in a condo from Vicki and Steven Hart, lobbyists whose firm has lobbied the EPA on behalf of an Oklahoma Energy company, ABC News and Bloomberg reported. According to Bloomberg, Pruitt leased a room for around $50 a night, only paying when he stayed there. In total, Pruitt paid $6,100 for the room over six months, a rate significantly lower than market value.