On CNN, Michael Caputo dismisses Scott Pruitt’s ethics problems, says “the kookiest leftists” target him for being effective
Caputo: Pruitt has been "attacked by triggered leftists in airports" and was just "trying to save a few bucks on the overheated apartment market in Washington"
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From the April 9 edition of CNN's New Day:
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CHRIS CUOMO (CO-HOST): Do you think the Sword of Damocles is hanging over the head of [EPA Administrator] Scott Pruitt or no, and why?
MICHAEL CAPUTO: I don't think it is at all. In fact, I think the president and I think a lot of people in the White House, a lot more Republicans than those speaking out against him, are really proud of the work he's doing. And by the way, it's the most difficult work when you're opposing liberal orthodoxy. Probably number two target in this administration after President Trump is Scott Pruitt, because he's doing things that are very effective at the EPA, like, for example, cutting the budget by about 30 percent. And that triggers the kookiest leftists.
CUOMO: First of all, science would be his main opponent when it comes to some of his positions when it comes to climate change. That's why he was so controversial. As AG in Oklahoma, he was fighting against it. There were things that were suggested that had come out of him about a rejection of climate science. Now he's the head of the EPA. But that's all politics and policy. He's got a string of ethical considerations, several of which could have been seen as fatal by someone else without the president's support. And in fact, other guys have had to leave over less. How do you explain it?
CAPUTO: I think that's kind of an exaggeration.
CUOMO: [Former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom] Price?
CAPUTO: I get what you're saying, I get what you're saying. He may have done something wrong here. And I think oversight is important in these kinds of situations out of Congress, but I think just like [former IRS Commissioner John] Koskinen at the IRS and [former Attorney General Eric] Holder at the DOJ, he can come forward and apologize and move on. That'll be enough for the American people. It won't be enough for the liberals who want to get rid of him because of the effectiveness, but it'll be enough for the American people.
CUOMO: Look, I get the whole political currency these days of pointing the finger at the other and saying but they did this, but they did this. Who in the Obama Administration got caught up with this kind of string of ethical violations? Arguable ethical violations?
CAPUTO: I'm not going to go tit-for-tat here. I think every administration --
CHRIS CUOMO (CO-HOST): You just did. You just did, Caputo. You just said Holder and Koskinen. You just did it, so put some meat on the bones.
CAPUTO: Right, I mean if you look at Holder and Koskinen, they did arguably from the right you would say that they did far worse things. We're talking about the use of security because he's been targeted, and even yelled at, and screamed at, and attacked by triggered leftists in airports. We're talking about him trying to save a few bucks on the overheated apartment market in Washington. Something that was approved ethically --
CUOMO: $50 a month that he doesn't even pay? Look, these are ethical considerations. It's going to be a political determination.
CAPUTO: That's right.
CUOMO: You expect the president to stick by him until what? Something comes out that's worse?
CAPUTO: I expect the president to stand by him until something that comes out that really requires him to be replaced. I urge the president to stand by the secretary. I think that he is doing great work over there. He's reforming the EPA in a way that conservatives want to have done. And that's the real problem here. He's effective so the busy body bureaucrats at the EPA want him out.