Republican Senators Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas came out in defense of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt as media reports suggest his time in the Trump administration may be nearing its end.
Paul said Pruitt is needed to “drain the regulatory swamp,” while Cruz said Trump is “too cagey to be duped and bullied by the Obama groupies” regarding the Oklahoma attorney general’s fate.
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) April 5, 2018
This is compelling. Why do Obama and his media cronies want so badly to drive @EPAScottPruitt out of office? @realDonaldTrump is too cagey to be duped and bullied by the Obama groupies. https://t.co/USHqDUDECH
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) April 5, 2018
The public endorsements come amid calls for Pruitt’s head. New reports about Pruitt’s first-class flights, renting of a room from an energy lobbyist’s wife and circumventing the White House to give pay raises to staffers.
Trump called Pruitt on Monday to tell him “we’ve got your back,” but the White House has since distanced itself from Pruitt’s handling of the media. Bloomberg reports Trump asked lawmakers their thoughts on Pruitt on Wednesday, though he gave no indication which way he leaned on the matter.
.@hogangidley45: "I can't speak to the future of Scott Pruitt…but the White House is aware of these reports…the President demands the highest levels of ethical behavior..in the meantime we're looking into this"
— Saagar Enjeti (@esaagar) April 5, 2018
Cruz and Paul joined a growing number of conservative activists and business executives asking Trump not to fire Pruitt. Conservatives argue Trump’s deregulatory agenda would come to a screeching halt should Pruitt be removed, giving Democrats exactly what they want.
Democrats, meanwhile, are demanding answers from Pruitt regarding mounting ethics controversies. Liberal lawmakers and activists have called on Pruitt to resign from EPA.
Longtime Pruitt aide Samantha Dravis submitted her resignation on Thursday. Dravis serves as senior counsel and associate administrator at EPA.