Donald Trump is now offering Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt his vote of confidence, despite the engulfing ethics troubles that are causing major problems within the administration.
A White House official claimed that Trump had phoned Pruitt Monday night.
The president comforted the EPA chief to “keep your head up, keep fighting” and that “we have your back,” according to several media reports.
White House chief of staff John Kelly called Pruitt Tuesday morning to fight back against Trump’s message.
The calls follow a wave of negative headlines for Pruitt. The Atlantic revealed Monday that Pruitt made use of an obscure legal provision to override the White House and give raises to two top staffers.
All this came on the heels of a Washington Post report that the EPA considered a $100,000-per-month private jet lease for Pruitt, who already faces an inspector general probe into suspected travel abuses.
Pruitt is also under heavy fire for a $50-per-month condo lease linked to lobbyists whose clients later obtained an approval for a pipeline expansion plan. The lobbyists and the EPA have denied being involved in any wrongdoing.
The disclosures have caused calls from several lawmakers for additional investigations into Pruitt’s living situation, and some have demanded for his resignation.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee has called upon Pruitt to hand over the information on his rental agreement and Democrats on the House Oversight Committee are demanding that GOP leaders open a probe into Cabinet travel controversies, including Pruitt’s.
Trump has already split with two Cabinet officials who were engulfed by ethics problems: Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.