EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt resigned on Thursday, after dealing with months of scrutiny over a host of scandals that have polluted his time in office.
President Donald Trump announced Pruitt’s resignation on Twitter, praising Pruitt’s job as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency. He announced that the Senate confirmed Andrew Wheeler, the Deputy Administrator at the EPA, to begin working as the acting Administrator on Monday.
“I have accepted the resignation of Scott Pruitt as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency,” the President tweeted. “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… 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!”
In Pruitt’s letter of resignation to President Trump, obtained by Fox News and signed “your faithful friend,” he thanked the President for his continued support and confidence.
“I believe you are serving as President today because of God’s providence,” Pruitt wrote. “I believe that same providence brought me into your service. I pray as I have served you that I have blessed you and enabled you to effectively lead the American people. Thank you again Mr. President for the honor of serving you and I wish you Godspeed in all that you put your hand to.”
He added that he could no longer serve his term out due to the “unrelenting attacks” on him and his family.
“It is extremely difficult for me to cease serving you in this role first because I count it a blessing to be serving you in any capacity, but also, because of the transformative work that is occurring,” Pruitt wrote. “However, the unrelenting attacks on me personally, my family, are unprecedented and have taken a sizable toll on all of us.”
These “attacks” Pruitt wrote about may have been in response to nearly a dozen tumultuous scandals Pruitt faced during his year and a half tenure as EPA chief, including renting a $50-a-night condo in D.C. from an energy lobbyist; flying first-class from D.C. to his home state of Oklahoma on the taxpayer’s dollar, spending $43,000 on a soundproof phone booth, allegedly lying about threats to get increased security, requesting a used mattress from the Trump hotel, giving raises to his favorite staffers (and later denying doing so), and demoting and transferring agency staff members who raised concerns about these scandals. He even allegedly overused the White House mess hall so much they had to ask him to stop going.
Wheeler, the man pegged to replace Pruitt in the interim, could invite some scandals of his own: He spent more than a decade as a coal lobbyist, has hosted fundraisers for Republicans who voted in favor of his confirmation, and is a climate change denier.
“I believe that man has an impact on the climate, but what’s not completely understood is what the impact is,” Wheeler said in a November confirmation hearing. (According to scientists at NASA, the human-impact on climate is quite understood — global warming is largely a result of human activity on the planet.)
The announcement came just one day after Pruitt celebrated the Fourth of July at the White House.
Cover image: Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt walks during a picnic for military families on the South Lawn of the White House July 4, 2018 in Washington, DC. Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP.