Welcome to WHAT NOW, a morning round-up of the news/fresh horrors that await you today.
Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, spent at least $90,000 on airfare for himself and his aides in just one brief period of around-the-world travel in early June, according a Sunday night report by the Washington Post.
The EPA administrator has distinguished himself for often flying in first or business class—which was not the Obama administration’s practice—and for making costly, secretive travel arrangements. In that regard, he’s a good fit in the Trump administration, where Tom Price was forced to resign as Health and Human Services Secretary after it was revealed he traveled lavishly on taxpayer-funded private government jets.
Citing documents, the paper wrote that Pruitt enjoyed a $1,641.43 first class ticket on Monday, June 5, for the quick jaunt from Washington, D.C. to New York. That ticket cost six times as much as those for two media aides who came along but sat in coach, according to agency travel vouchers.
Once in the city, Pruitt made two media appearances praising the decision to become one of the world’s only nations not part of the climate agreement, stayed at an upscale hotel near Times Square, and returned to Washington the next day.
Just two days later, on June 7, Pruitt and several staffers raced from Cincinnati to New York on a private military jet so they could catch a plane to Rome. The cost? $36,068.50.
All told, the documents—which were obtained by the Post and the Environmental Integrity Project—found Pruitt’s travel in early June alone cost taxpayers at least $90,000, a number which does not include his bloated, round-the-clock personal security detail.
- The Trump administration is slated to unveil two documents today: its long-awaited infrastructure plan and a massive $4 trillion 2018 budget. Both are so unlikely to become law that Axios called them “science fiction.”
- Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers made a staggering 37,734 non-criminal arrests during the 2017 fiscal year, the Washington Post reported—more than twice the amount in 2016. Total arrests are up by 40%.
- Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg told CNN she believes the #MeToo movement will have “staying power,” adding, “It’s amazing, that for the first time, women are really listened to because sexual harassment had often been dismissed as ‘well, she made it up.’”
- An explosion and fire at a power station cast some 450,000 residents of San Juan and northern Puerto Rico into darkness yet again. More than four months after Hurricane Maria, nearly half a million Puerto Ricans were still without power even before the latest blackout.