Speed Reads

Pruitt Watch

Scott Pruitt 'thinks he's the president of the United States,' EPA staffer says, but he was a terrible tenant

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's profligate spending of taxpayer money isn't new — he reportedly jacked up spending when he was Oklahoma attorney general, too — but EPA officials have justified most of it by citing apparently very overblown concerns about Pruitt's safety. And Pruitt's main enabler, Politico says, is the head of his 19-person 24/7 security detail, Pasquale "Nino" Perrotta.

Perrotta, a former Secret Service agent, encouraged or insisted that Pruitt (and himself) fly first class, upgrade to a specialized SUV, sweep his office for bugs — with a company linked to Perrotta — and install a $43,000 soundproof booth, Politico says, and recently retired EPA multimedia director Ron Slotkin said Perrotta posted a guard to keep employees out of Pruitt's EPA suite of offices. "Mr. Pruitt thinks he's the president of the United States," one former career staffer told Politico. "He's big on image."

He wasn't big on taking out the trash, however, The Daily Beast reports, citing numerous sources familiar with his $50-a-night rental situation last year. The lobbyist owners of the townhouse, Vicki and J. Steven Hart, eventually had to push Pruitt out the door, but The Daily Beast recounts another reason why Pruitt was "the tenant from hell":

According to three people familiar with events, Pruitt would not take out the trash during his time staying at the townhouse, believing that a cleaning service would do it for him. There was no cleaning service that came with the apartment, however. And the garbage bags piled up to the point that Vicki Hart was forced to tell him to put them in the canister and to take that canister out to the street the next time he left the building. [The Daily Beast]

Steve Hart is also facing pressure to retire early as chairman of the lobbying firm Williams & Jensen because of his now-famous ties to Pruitt, The Daily Beast reports. President Trump, meanwhile, says he believes Pruitt is doing a terrific job.