Conservative pundit and radio host Laura Ingraham called on President Donald Trump Wednesday to fire Scott Pruitt after a report that the EPA administrator had an aide pressed GOP donors to give his wife a job.
The tweet makes Ingraham the highest-profile conservative to call for the ouster of Pruitt, who is facing a dozen congressional and EPA investigations into his spending on security and first-class travel, sweetheart condo rental from a lobbyist and using aides to handle his personal business. Ingraham was considered for the role of Trump’s press secretary in 2016, and Trump is a fan of her television appearances and reportedly speaks to her on the phone regularly.
Though three Republican lawmakers have called for Pruitt’s ouster congressional leaders and political operatives have largely backed up the controversial EPA chief, and he has so far kept the support of Trump, who has praised him for dismantling many Obama-era environmental regulations.
The New York Times reported recently that Trump speaks with Pruitt frequently about his displeasure with Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
But the report that Pruitt used EPA aides and his official position to seek work for his wife raised eyebrows among many of his Washington supporters. The Post reported that Pruitt had asked his policy adviser Samantha Dravis to help his wife find a job. Pruitt first sought help from one prominent GOP donor, Doug Deason, who said he could not hire her because of a conflict of interest given his business before EPA.
Deason also helped Pruitt pick new members for EPA’s Science Advisory Board last year, POLITICO reported last week.
But Leonard Leo, executive vice president of the conservative Federalist Society, eventually helped her secure a temporary contractor job with the conservative Judicial Crisis Network, the Post reported. Leo also helped arrange Pruitt’s visit to Italy last year, and even initially paid for an expensive Rome meal, though Pruitt eventually reimbursed him.
A JCN spokesperson said that Marlyn Pruitt worked as a temporary independent contractor who helped organize the set-up of new offices. JCN said she worked for them from fall 2017 to spring 2018, although the number of hours and her total pay for that time is unknown.
Dravis, who is due to speak to House Oversight investigators later this month, has since departed EPA and declined to comment.
The news follows other recent reports that Pruitt used his position to seek out a possible Chick-fil-A franchise for his wife and got her a temporary job helping organize a conference for the nonprofit group Concordia.