WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump told reporters Friday that he continues to stand by Scott Pruitt as scandals surrounding the embattled Environmental Protection Agency administrator continue to pile up.
“Yes, I do,” Trump replied when asked during a meeting with auto-manufacturers if he still had confidence in Pruitt.
The administrator was seated directly next to the president at the time.
Pruitt has been the subject of controversy for a long list of issues, including living in an apartment co-owned by an energy lobbyist, overseeing pay raises for two top staffers against the White House’s wishes, frequent first-class flights and relying more heavily on a private security detail than previous administrators.
On Thursday, the New York Times released EPA communications that showed Pruitt dined with a high-ranking cardinal who denies climate change at a pricey restaurant in Rome.
The cardinal, Australian George Pell, is now under investigation for sexual abuse allegations.
FOLLOW ALONG WITH US HERE, as we walk through a FASCINATING collection of documents The NYT has pulled together about a certain dinner in Rome that EPA’s Scott Pruitt had last June with Cardinal Pell, who is now facing sexual abuse charges. (PLEASE CREDIT NYT )@LFFriedman pic.twitter.com/IZ4EIu3xfu
— Eric Lipton (@EricLiptonNYT) May 10, 2018
The White House has maintained that the administration is reviewing the media’s reports on Pruitt, but Press Secretary Sarah Sanders declined to give an update when asked on the status of it last week.