President Donald Trump continued his support for embattled EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt on Saturday, saying on Twitter that his spending on security was "somewhat more than his predecessor" because he has "received death threats because of his bold actions at EPA."
"Rent was about market rate, travel expenses OK," Trump said in his posts. "Scott is doing a great job!"
Trump has steadily supported Pruitt, despite growing calls for his dismissal by Republicans and Democrats — and news reports that Chief of Staff John Kelly last week urged the president to dismiss him over several growing scandals.
The EPA chief remains under fire for possible ethics violations for paying only $50 a night to rent a room in a Washington condo from an energy lobbyist, for top-flight travel arrangements at taxpayer expense and for granting two EPA officials huge pay raises despite White House opposition.
The Associated Press reported Friday that Pruitt had spent nearly $3 million in taxpayer dollars for a large 24-hour security detail and for first- and business-class air travel.
President Trump has praised Pruitt, a former Republican Oklahoma attorney general, for working swiftly to scrap, delay or rewrite many Obama-era environmental regulations and for championing deep budget cuts at the EPA.
Trump tweeted Friday that Pruitt was "under siege" and told reporters aboard Air Force One on Thursday that "I think he's done a fantastic job."
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