"It should have been Scott Pruitt's finest moment," The New York Times reports. On Tuesday, the Environmental Protection Agency administrator who strives to be President Trump's "most effective eraser of regulations" unveiled "his most sweeping regulatory rollback to date," a plan to weaken fuel-efficiency standards. But instead, everyone is focused on whether Trump is going to fire Pruitt after a series of embarrassing ethics scandals.
Pruitt made his announcement in the EPA headquarters, flanked by auto industry lobbyists, instead of at a Chevrolet dealership in suburban Virginia. The dealership, Pohanka Chevrolet, would have been "a more public setting that might have exposed him to questions about the lease arrangement, or about his first-class air travel at taxpayer expense," the Times notes, but also, "other Chevrolet dealers were uneasy about seeing the Chevy brand used as a backdrop to Mr. Pruitt's announcement."
The EPA did not appear eager for journalists to attend the scaled-back event, CNN reports. "A CNN journalist in the building was not allowed into the room for the event. EPA had attempted to allow television camera access to Fox News without informing the other four networks: CNN, ABC, NBC and CBS. Fox alerted the networks and a pool was established allowing networks equal access to the event." When ABC News' Mary Bruce shouted a question about whether Pruitt has Trump's confidence, Pruitt ducked out of the room:
Trump appears to be sticking with Pruitt for now. He told reporters Tuesday, "I hope he's going to be great," and called Pruitt late Monday to tell him "we've got your back," but White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, who reportedly wants Pruitt gone, followed up with a warning call, White House officials tell The Associated Press. They said Trump's "praise referred to Pruitt's work in loosening environmental regulations and his success at getting under the skin of environmental groups," but "the tone of Trump's call was not entirely positive."