Scott Pruitt, President Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency administrator, has voiced support for the White House’s proposal to radically cut the agency’s budget.
But there’s one spending category Pruitt wants to bulk up: his own security.
As reported by E&E News in February and by The New York Times on April 10, the EPA has requested 10 additional full-time security guards to form a round-the-clock detail that will protect the administrator.
Pruitt has emerged as an unusually high-profile and iconoclastic agency chief. During his confirmation hearings, he made two claims to Congress that each turned out not to be true, and faced the opposition of nearly 800 former EPA officials due to his record of attacking the agency.
As chief of the nation’s environmental public health agency, Pruitt has taken a number of steps that earned him praise among opponents of regulation, and sharp criticism from environmental safety advocates. He went on cable news to question, without evidence, the scientific consensus that humans are driving climate change, stood by the president as Trump signed an order to dismantle core EPA emissions rules, told states they could ignore certain Obama-era carbon dioxide regulations, declined to ban a pesticide that appears to cause brain damage in infants, and backed off of methane limits.
Pruitt has also become the first EPA administrator ever to seek a 24/7 security detail.
Over the course of US history, 16 cabinet members have died in office, but none was the victim of an assassination. (The role of EPA administrator is not a cabinet position per se, but is of similar stature.)
The most violent episodes involving members of the cabinet occurred when former vice president Aaron Burr killed former treasury secretary Alexander Hamilton in a duel in 1804, and when Abraham Lincoln’s secretary of state, William Seward, was attacked in his home on the same night Lincoln was killed in 1865.
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