Senior White House staffers have reportedly pushed President TrumpDonald John TrumpSessions unveils ‘zero tolerance’ policy at southern border NY attorney general resigns after allegations of physical abuse Trump Jr. mocks Schneiderman after reports he abused women MORE to fire Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittEPA documents detail threats against Pruitt Overnight Energy: Interior sending officers to southern border | Dem AGs want EPA to halt plan restricting use of science | EPA documents show secrecy push Clean up EPA’s inefficient toxic waste program MORE amid mounting ethics controversies.
The New York Times, citing two top administration officials, reported that the president may be dialing back his previously staunch support of Pruitt.
One official told the newspaper that the White House is starting to view the EPA head’s spate of ethics problems as a “bottomless pit.”
White House staffers reportedly believe Andrew Wheeler, who was recently confirmed as the deputy EPA administrator, would be just as effective in carrying out Trump’s agenda.
Pruitt has come under intense scrutiny in recent months.
Reports have revealed that Pruitt racked up millions of dollars worth of travel and security expenses, including allegedly bringing his detail to Disneyland and the Rose Bowl. Pruitt justified his first-class travel by saying it was based on security precautions.
He has also come under fire for renting a Capitol Hill condo from the wife of an energy lobbyist for $50 each day he stayed there, approving raises for staffers that the White House previously rejected and constructing a $43,000 soundproof booth in his office.
During testimony on Capitol Hill last month, Pruitt said those controversies were largely matters handled by his staff or distractions from his agency’s efforts to carry out Trump’s agenda.
While dozens of Democrats have called for Pruitt to resign, Trump and some Republicans have defended Pruitt and praised him for cutting regulations.