Republican Sen. Susan Collins, of Maine, is calling embattled EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt “the wrong person” to head the agency “on policy grounds alone.”
Collins voted against Pruitt’s confirmation, and said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” that his actions on the environment, “whether it’s trying to undermine the Clean Power Plan or weaken the restrictions on lead or undermine the methane rules,” validate her decision.
Pruitt has come under fire for a string of ethically questionable actions over the past year, including renewed questions over the amount he is spending on his large security detail and over his travel and housing arrangements.
“This daily drop of accusations of excessive spending and ethical violations serve to further distract the agency from accomplishing its very important mission,” Collins said. “I think Congress needs to do some oversight.”
Republican Sen. John Kennedy, of Louisiana, echoed the point in remarks on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” in which he recounted some of Pruitt’s alleged actions.
“Well, Mr. Pruitt and other members of the President’s Cabinet, I would say ethics matter, impropriety matters, the appearance of impropriety matters to the extent that you are, stop acting like a chuckle head, stop the unforced errors, stop leading with your chin,” Kennedy said. “If you don’t need to fly first class, don’t. Don’t turn on the siren on your SUV just to watch people move over. You represent the President of the United States. All of this behavior is juvenile. It’s distracting from the business that we’re trying to do for the American people.”
When CNN anchor Jake Tapper asked Collins if Pruitt should resign or be fired, the Republican senator said that is a position “only the President can take at this point,” adding that “the Congress has no role” now that Pruitt has been confirmed.
Trump so far has stood by his embattled EPA chief, tweeting late Saturday, “Scott is doing a great job!”