Looks like President Donald Trump is not the only one in his administration of elites and incompetents to have a penchant for traveling lavishly at the expense of American taxpayers, as the climate change-denying administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is now under fire for spending taxpayer money on his luxurious travels.
As The Washington Post recently revealed, Scott Pruitt likes to fly either business-class or first-class for unspecified security reasons, which racks up thousands of dollars on the expense of American taxpayers. Although his aides and staffers reportedly fly coach while traveling for meetings and conferences, there was at least one stretch last year in June that cost more than $90,000 in flights, according to receipts obtained by the Environmental Integrity Project watchdog group under the Freedom of Information Act.
In addition to that, Pruitt also reportedly uses military jets for his frequent travels.
According to flight records, Pruitt hopped a short flight from D.C. to New York City shortly after Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris Climate Accords. His first-class seat cost around $1,641.43 — about six times more than tickets for two media aides who were flying with Pruitt and seated in coach. It is unclear if the EPA chief also had his security personnel with him in first-class.
Then, after staying at an expensive hotel near Times Square in Manhattan for about a day, Pruitt flew back to Washington before boarding Air Force One to travel to an event in Cincinnati along with the commander-in-chief. On his way back to D.C., the administrator and his aides flew to New York on a military jet, which cost over $36,000, to catch a transatlantic flight to Rome that cost more than $7,000. Needless to say, it was significantly more than what other officials paid for the same trip.
However, EPA spokeswoman Liz Bowman told The Washington Post federal ethics officials had approved all of Pruitt’s extraordinary travel expenses.
"He’s trying to further positive environmental outcomes and achieve tangible environmental results through his travel," Bowman told the Post, referring to the New York trip. “He’s communicating the message about his agenda and the president’s agenda.”
Pruitt previously stirred controversy after his travel records revealed he spent at least 43 of the 92 days of March, April and May 2017 in his home state of Oklahoma, raising concerns among critics he was cultivating political relationships in the state at taxpayer expense instead of focusing on his job.
However, at the time, EPA officials claimed Pruitt paid for his trips home to see his family.
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters, Yuri Gripas