Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) spent part of Tuesday's hearing of the Environment and Public Works Committee reminding the EPA chief of a two-year-old interview in which he said Trump would be even more lawless than former President Barack Obama.
In a e-mailed statement issued after the hearing, Pruitt said after getting to know the president, "Trump is the most consequential leader of our time".
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt made withering comments about President Donald Trump in a 2016 interview with a Tulsa radio station, according to audio of the broadcast published Tuesday. He later added, "I really believe he would use a blunt instrument".
In 2016, Pruitt agreed with Campbell when he quoted his father's description of Trump as "dangerous", calling the host's father "very astute".
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Scott Pruitt, in an interview taped a year before he was asked to lead U.S. EPA, blasted then-presidential candidate Donald Trump as a risky threat to the Constitution. [Obama] at least tries to nuance his unlawfulness. And Democratic lawmakers have been awaiting their chance to grill him on the rollbacks and delays of environmental enforcement at the EPA on his watch. John Barrasso (R-WY) praised Pruitt for his work to end the "regulatory rampage" at the EPA under the Obama administration while Democrats questioned Pruitt's budget cuts for the agency, slowwalking rules, regulatory rollbacks, and his global trips. He summed up Donald Trump in one word. "The President has liberated our country from the political class and given America back to the people".
Asked by Campbell if he was a Trump supporter, Pruitt replied "No, no". In his six-point critique on Facebook in March 2016, Wheeler laid out a skepticism of Trump's character, business acumen and viability as a candidate that many elected GOP officials and "establishment" Republicans shared at the time. Pruitt said there is "no decision or determination on that".
As EPA administrator, however, Pruitt has cited executive orders signed by Trump as the basis for a wide array of policy changes rolling back and redrafting regulations limiting emissions of toxic heavy metals from coal-fired power plants.
Meanwhile, Republicans on the committee had nearly universal praise for Pruitt, saying he has lifted the regulatory burden placed on companies by the Obama administration.