EPA administrator Scott Pruitt's security detail recommended he fly first class whenever possible to avoid "extremely rude" people who lob profanities at him, Politico reported.
That's the justification being proffered by the agency in the wake of a report that Pruitt racked up $90,000 in travel expenses last June.
"We felt that based on the recommendation from the team leader, the special agent in charge, that it would be better suited to have him in business or first class, away from close proximity from those individuals who were approaching him and being extremely rude, using profanities and potential for altercations and so forth," Henry Barnet, director of the EPA's Office of Criminal Enforcement, told Politico.
With a round-the-clock 30-person security detail that costs north of $2 million per year, making him the most protected EPA administrator ever, some are questioning why Pruitt would also need the benefit of getting on and off a plane first.
"Whether we are members of Congress or members of the Cabinet, I think we’ve got responsibility that when we’re traveling on government business that we make sure we’re being responsible with those dollars," Sen. Lisa Murkowski told Politico.
However, Barnet said Pruitt has been exposed to hostiles in airports.
"'Scott Pruitt, you’re f---ing up the environment,’ those sort of terms," Barnet told Politico.
For his part, Pruitt earlier this week said his travel plans are out of his hands.
"I’m not involved in any of those decisions. Those are all made by the [security] detail, the security assessment in addition to the chief of staff," Pruitt told a New Hampshire newspaper earlier this week.
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