Another Trump cabinet member says goodbye.
Image: Andrew Harnik/AP/REX/Shutterstock

It seems Scott Pruitt suffered one scandal too many as Donald Trump tweeted on Thursday afternoon that he’s accepted Pruitt’s resignation effective Monday.

Pruitt’s resignation letter was later shared online.

Despite what Trump hailed as an “outstanding job,” Pruitt’s time as the head of the EPA will most be remembered for a never-ending cycle of scandals, from soundproof booths to first class air tickets to wild goose chases just for a certain type of lotion and a used Trump Hotel mattress.

And there’s load more, from seeking a Chick-Fil-A job for his wife and then a Republican Attorneys General Association job for his wife to having staffers put his hotel rooms on their credit cards to… well… you get the idea.

Still, Pruitt managed to use his shortened time at the EPA to throw a lot of wrenches in how the agency worked, limiting the number of scientific studies they used, downplaying evidence of climate change, and completely dispensing with research on things like greenhouse gases. 

Pruitt’s sooty legacy

More than any of the other officials who’ve flamed out in Trump’s Washington, Pruitt leaves a legacy that will long outlive his short tenure. His actions while in office will ensure the U.S. will emit more greenhouse gases than it would have otherwise, thereby setting back efforts to tackle global warming. He also made it more likely for people to be sickened from potentially dangerous chemicals on crops and in the air and water, and may have played a decisive role in determining the next car you buy.

Among other things Pruitt has done at the EPA:

  • Shrunk the EPA to Reagan-era levels, with scores of experts on protecting public health and the environment leaving for the private sector or opting for early retirement. 

  • Literally took down the EPA’s website on climate change.

  • Cast doubt on the mainstream scientific evidence showing that human emissions of greenhouse gases are causing global warming, and went so far as to push for televised debates between climate scientists and climate deniers. 

  • Pruitt took a hammer to the Obama administration’s landmark climate change regulations.

  • Moved to halt the Clean Power Plan, which would reduce emissions from coal-fired power plants

  • Took action to revisit the Obama administration’s fuel economy standards, aimed at incentivizing the development of cleaner-burning cars and catalyzing demand for electric and hybrid vehicles. 

Pruitt’s legacy will linger for years, well beyond Trump’s administration. And it will leave even more work for his successors just to undo the damage he’s wrought, not to mention fight the new challenges that are building.

Additional reporting by Andrew Freedman

This is a developing story…


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