Scott Pruitt's resignation as EPA chief heralded by some lawmakers as 'long overdue'

Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt’s resignation was “long overdue,” some lawmakers said as President Trump announced the Cabinet change on Thursday.

Pruitt, 50, and his office, which he led since 2017, had come under fire for extravagant spending habits, including on first-class travel, pay raises to top aides and a $43,000 soundproof booth.

In announcing his resignation on July 5, Trump said Pruitt had “done an outstanding job” leading the EPA and “will always be thankful to him for this.”

The resignation sparked a variety of responses from lawmakers.

“Scott Pruitt was the worst EPA administrator in the history of the agency. Not only has he acted, time and time again, in an unethical manner, but he has led the agency in exactly the wrong direction,” Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said in a statement.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said Trump "made the right decision" in accepting the resignation of Pruitt.

"Administrator Pruitt’s ethical scandals and his undermining of the President’s commitment to biofuels and Midwest farmers were distracting from the agency’s otherwise strong progress to free the nation of burdensome and harmful government regulations," he said. "Fewer things are more important for government officials than maintaining public trust. Administrator Pruitt, through his own actions, lost that trust."


Sen. Tom Carper, the top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee, said Pruitt made the EPA “a punchline.” And while he heralded Pruitt’s resignation, he said it was “long overdue.”

“I knew that Mr. Pruitt and I would seriously disagree when it came to policy. That was no surprise. But Mr. Pruitt’s brazen abuse of his position for his own personal gain has been absolutely astounding, rivaled only by the silence of far too many in Congress and in the White House who allowed Mr. Pruitt’s unethical, and at times, possibly illegal behavior to go unchecked,” the Delaware senator said in a lengthy statement.

“There have been too many ethical lapses under Administrator Pruitt’s watch and this decision is in the best interests of the agency and our country,” Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik, of New York, said in a statement, adding, it’s “time for new leadership at the EPA.”

"About. D**n. Time," Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., said in a tweet.

"Took you long enough," Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said. "Still a very long way to go to fully [drain the swamp]."

"One down with the resignation of [Pruitt], dozens more to go until we've drained the swamp of the Trump Admin's toxic culture and corruption," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said.

In a tweet, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat, said, "The American people deserve a new EPA chief who’s focused on protecting our environment, instead of someone intent on doing the bidding of Big Oil donors while wasting taxpayer dollars."

Florida Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said she was "proud" to have called for Pruitt's removal in the past.

"That was so many scandals ago," she said. "And many degradations of our environment ago."

Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn., simply shared the news of Pruitt’s resignation on Twitter and said, “Good riddance.”

Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, called Pruitt “unusually greedy and weird with his corruption.” However, Schatz said Pruitt’s “worst transgression was that he systematically worked on behalf of polluters to poison our air and our water and make climate change worse.”

More lawmakers reacted on social media.