Charlie Sykes, a contributing editor at the conservative Weekly Standard, was harshly critical of Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt during a June 15 appearance on MSNBC Live with Craig Melvin. The Weekly Standard was one of the first right-wing publications to call for Pruitt's ouster; in an editorial published on May 14, the magazine's editors argued that “the time has come for him to go.” And Sykes published his own caustic critique of Pruitt on the Weekly Standard website on June 7, calling the EPA chief “the quintessential swamp creature of the Trump era.”
Other right-wing media figures have also come out against Pruitt in recent days. Laura Ingraham, radio talk show host and Fox News personality, tweeted on June 13 that Pruitt should go and criticized his repeated “judgement lapses” on her radio show. National Review published an editorial on June 13 that called on Pruitt to resign. And Byron York, chief political correspondent for the conservative Washington Examiner and a Fox News contributor, tweeted on June 5 that he didn't understand why the White House couldn't “find somebody else” to run the EPA.
Even Fox News is no longer wholly in Pruitt's corner. Fox and Pruitt had a cozy relationship during his first year in office, with the EPA chief appearing on the network 16 times, more than twice as often as on other major networks combined. But Pruitt hasn’t given an interview to Fox since April 4, when Fox correspondent Ed Henry asked him tough questions about his ethics troubles. And on June 6, the Fox News Research Twitter account posted a tweet that criticized Pruitt for his many scandals.
From the June 15 edition of MSNBC Live with Craig Melvin:
CRAIG MELVIN (MSNBC HOST): Back with me now, Charlie Sykes, contributing editor for The Weekly Standard, also an MSNBC contributor. Dana Milbank, also back with me, political columnist for The Washington Post. Charlie, there’s a new headline just about every day regarding Scott Pruitt -- the EPA administrator's seemingly bizarre conduct, if not unethical, sometimes maybe even perhaps illegal. More than a dozen investigations into his behavior. Why, Charlie Sykes, would President Trump still be backing Scott Pruitt?
CHARLIE SYKES: By the way, I still can't get over the fact that he wanted that used mattress from the Trump Hotel.
MELVIN: Yes! No one talks about the mattress.
SYKES: Who wants a used mattress from a hotel? You used two words that I think are very appropriate. One is the staggering list of scandals involving Scott Pruitt. And also how bizarre it is that President Trump keeps standing by him. I mean, a lot of aides, even Cabinet members, have been let go for less than this. You are actually starting to see a shift where other conservatives are recognizing, look, this guy is actually undermining your agenda. When you start to see National Review magazine, Weekly Standard, Laura Ingraham, a lot of other conservatives basically saying, look, we may like his policies, but don't you understand that he is basically the ultimate swamp creature in an administration that's supposed to be draining the swamp? I mean, who is swampier than Scott Pruitt? Other than maybe the president himself.