It’s an embarrassing moment for the Environmental Protection Agency, as the odd news spreads that Administrator Scott Pruitt reportedly asked an aide to find and buy a used mattress from the Trump International Hotel. More specifically, Pruitt was looking for a “Trump Home Luxury Plush Euro Pillow Top” mattress, reported the Washington Post. Richard Painter, who was the chief ethics lawyer under President George W. Bush, said that not only is asking a subordinate to run personal errands “illegal,” but asking an aide to find a mattress from the Trump hotel “is just weird,” according to Newsweek. Many people agree that the request is strange and as Painter also said, “There must be 60 hotels in Washington. I don’t believe the mattresses in the Trump hotel are any better.”
The news of Pruitt’s alleged abuse of power surfaced after Pruitt’s director of scheduling, Millan Hupp, was interviewed on May 18. Hupp described how Pruitt asked her to run personal errands for him on her personal time, including lunch breaks and vacations. The personal errands ranged from finding an apartment, booking personal travel accommodations, and buying tickets to the Rose Bowl. Hupp wasn’t just calling potential rentals, either. She was visiting the rentals in person on behalf of Pruitt.
In a partial transcript of Hupp’s interview that the New York Times links to in an article, Hupp is asked extensive questions about what she knows about Pruitt’s desire to obtain an old mattress from a Trump Hotel around September. Hupp said that she didn’t remember why Pruitt wanted the mattress or what he wanted to do with it, although she mentioned that Pruitt was moving around that time.
The new allegations are bad news for Pruitt, considering that Hupp’s interview reveals how he abused his power for personal gain. President of Public Citizen, Robert Weissman, weighed in on the matter.
“Pruitt apparently believes the agency is at his service to attend to his personal needs, whims and desires for luxurious accommodations… Usually public servants think they are working for the public.”
Pruitt may find himself facing additional allegations soon. Currently, the Oversight Committee is looking into many of his prior spending decisions. Some of the more questionable expenses include traveling in first-class supposedly for security reasons, and paying a lobbyist $50 a night for staying at her condo for half of 2017. Pruitt only paid the lobbyist the nightly fee when he slept there, which is an odd set-up.