Donald Trump's scandal-hit environment chief Scott Pruitt resigns

Leroy Wright
July 6, 2018

"I have accepted the resignation of Scott Pruitt as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency", tweeted the president, ending months of speculation about the future of the man he had tasked with dismantling former president Barack Obama's green legacy.

Senator Kamala Harris, Democrat from California:"Just because Scott Pruitt resigned doesn't mean we've forgotten about the taxpayer funds he's misused or the damage he's done to our environment". Here's what you need to know about Wheeler's background as he takes over the agency tasked with preserving the country's environment and natural resources.

Pruitt mechanically praised the President, calling him "brilliant" and a "political revolutionary", in the Post's words.

Wheeler is not someone who has sought the spotlight.

Wheeler has largely stayed out of the limelight and previously told the Washington Examiner he has no interest in taking the EPA administrator role.

He also tasked members of his staff with personal assignments, including finding him another apartment, getting his tickets to sporting events and trying to help his wife find a job.

Pruitt made no mention of the various ethics complaints in his resignation letter, instead praising Trump for having "blessed me personally and enabled me to advance your agenda beyond what anyone anticipated". Wheeler was serving as a lobbyist for Murray Energy at the time. Deputy director Andrew Wheeler will take his place. Murray's CEO Robert Murray has supported Trump for years, and long worked to do away with health and safety regulations like the Clean Power Plan.

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Mr Wang helped turn HNA into one of the world's biggest companies, with assets in aviation, tourism and finance. Concerns about HNA's financial situation mounted in the ensuing months.

Like President Trump, Wheeler is active on Twitter, although he has not tweeted since the news of his appointment was announced.

Murray Energy employees contributed $103,580 to Trump's campaign committee during the 2016 presidential race, more than those from any other company, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington-based research group. In addition, he was formerly chief of staff to Sen.

Now Wheeler is back in the public sector, and those years in the federal government may give him an advantage that Pruitt, who spent his career at the state level, never had.

The Senate confirmed Wheeler in April by a 53-45 vote, mostly along party lines. Sen.

The senator was also a supporter of Pruitt, according to the Times, and Wheeler's rise demonstrates the growing influence of a group of former Inhofe staff members across the Trump administration and Washington including Ryan Jackson, who is now the EPA's chief of staff.

Prominent media critics that Trump likes - including Laura Ingraham - said Pruitt was the "swamp" and needed to go. He called the then-candidate a "bully" and questioned his character, according to the Washington Post. Trump could also choose to nominate Wheeler himself, although he said last week that he wasn't gunning for the job.

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