Donald Trump’s EPA chief Scott Pruitt has undoubtedly set the US back on climate change policy — his goal in the administration was essentially to throw a wrench in the EPA’s mission to protect the environment — and it’s been an open question as to whether he even believes in global warming.
Pruitt may also be the Trump appointee with the most scandals under his belt, and his resignation signals another turnover — just 503 days in the position — in a tumultuous era of Trump.
Here is how Pruitt stacks up to his predecessors: If one looks at the tenures for previous non-acting EPA chiefs, Pruitt spent far less time in office than is normal. Under President Barack Obama, EPA administrator Gina McCarthy served 1,282 days. Before her, Lisa Jackson served 1,484 days. Under President George W. Bush, Stephen Johnson served 1,455 days. Mike Leavitt was EPA chief before Johnson for only 447 days, but he didn’t resign under fire; he was named Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Here are a mere 18 reasons why Scott Pruitt might have quit his job as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
1. After the EPA went against its own advice and failed to ban chlorpyrifos pesticides following industry lobbying, 12 people got sick from inhaling chlorpyrifos.
2. Pruitt was sued for slowing the implementation of anti-pollution regulations.
3. Pruitt has repeatedly denied climate change and climate science, going against the EPA’s core function of protecting the environment.
4. Like other administration officials, Pruitt was discovered to have frequently traveled home to Oklahoma using tax-payer money, which initiated an Inspectors General investigation.
5. Pruitt was later found to have spent $60,000 on four private and military flights that could have been flown commercial.
6. A Washington Post report revealed that Pruitt was flying almost exclusively first or business class in his first year, despite precedent set by former secretaries flying coach. He cited security concerns.
7. When Pruitt would use his own money to pay for his flights, he would reportedly fly coach.
8. Pruitt reportedly flew on airlines not approved by the government to get more frequent flyer miles.
9. Pruitt’s top policy adviser told investigators that Pruitt asked her to reach out the Republican Attorneys General Association and Chik-fil-A to inquire about potential employment or a franchise agreement for his wife, and to review a rental agreement.
10. Another Pruitt staffer told investigators that Pruitt asked her to try to buy a used Trump Hotel mattress for his apartment.
11. Pruitt’s government-funded security detail was requested immediately after his confirmation, despite Pruitt’s claim that he requested them after receiving specific threats. They accompanied him on personal trips to Disneyland and the Rose Bowl.
A Lobby Hobby
13. Pruitt rented a discounted condo from a health care lobbyist whose wife has previously worked with the EPA. The couple reportedly tried to collect rent through Pruitt’s chief of staff.
14. Pruitt reportedly kept a secret calendar that was not available for public record. This included meetings with lobbyists.
15. Pruitt has an obsession with privacy and reportedly spent $43,000 to build a soundproof booth in his office, and would not allow staffers to bring phones into his office or take notes on his meetings.
16. Pruitt spent $120,000 on a contract with a PR firm to monitor EPA employees.
Rank and File
17. Pruitt used a loophole to give two staffers large raises after they were initially denied.
18. Pruitt demoted staffers who questioned or raised concern about excessive spending.