After months of rumors that Scott Pruitt, the embattled head of the Environmental Protection Agency, was on his way out because of countless spending scandals, President Donald Trump announced Thursday on Twitter that he is out.
“I have accepted the resignation of Scott Pruitt as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Within the Agency Scott has done an outstanding job, and I will always be thankful to him for this. The Senate confirmed Deputy at EPA, Andrew Wheeler, will…,” he said, before continuing in a second tweet, “…on Monday assume duties as the acting Administrator of the EPA. I have no doubt that Andy will continue on with our great and lasting EPA agenda. We have made tremendous progress and the future of the EPA is very bright!”
Pruitt’s resignation, whether of his own volition or with a little bit of a nudge from the White House, ends yet another chapter for the administration that was supposed to “drain the swamp” and instead has seemingly embraced some swamp creatures. Pruitt was embroiled in overspending scandals from the cost of the penthouse where he was living to the price he paid for a “cone of silence” type booth for privacy in his office.
While many in the administration have engaged in overspending for their departments, the constant stream of stories about Pruitt had those inside the Beltway and out wondering why he still held his position. It reflected poorly on the president and his administration to keep him in and yet Trump seemed to often double down on his support of Pruitt. According to the Los Angeles Times, “Pruitt leaves the post the target of more than a dozen official probes.”
The scandals are only a piece of the puzzle of how Pruitt’s time at the agency affected Americans. While he was a source of constant fodder for his lavish spending, he was seen as one of the most effective Cabinet members as he aggressively got rid of regulations that had been put in place prior. He was a part of a potential weakening of the agency’s authority, reversing Obama-era climate action that fossil fuel companies had been completely against. Pruitt’s exit will likely not change anything on that front since he was simply enacting policy that President Trump wanted. In fact, things may possibly move even faster on the deregulation front now that the agency won’t have to spend so much time defending the acts of its chief.