Scott Pruitt, the head of Donald Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency, has been under fire for months over his extravagant spending and luxury travel. Now, he is apparently so worried about his precarious position in the administration that his senior staffers rarely know his whereabouts.
As Axios reported on Sunday, Pruitt has responded to the unending controversies by hunkering down and keeping all but a tight-knit circle of five of his political appointees in the loop.
“All of us have been frozen out over time,” one EPA political appointee told the site. “It’s absolutely unreal working here. Everyone’s miserable. Nobody talks. It’s a dry wall prison.”
Sounds like a normal workplace culture! But at least those alienated staffers can still do their jobs, right? No! (emphasis mine):
Now, senior political appointees tell me they have no idea where and how Pruitt spends his time. They scan Twitter and the news to try to keep tabs on him.
Pruitt used to share his travel schedule with political appointees. Then, over the winter, he sent out a redacted schedule simply saying “travel.” After that, he stopped sharing it altogether. Since his April 26 congressional testimony, senior staff outside his inner circle have had virtually no idea of his whereabouts.
The leadership in Pruitt’s congressional affairs shop have complained to associates that they can’t do their jobs. They’ve griped about complaints from members of Congress when the members find out after the fact that Pruitt has visited their state or congressional district. The embarrassing reality for Pruitt’s legislative affairs team is they had no idea either.
This is all the behavior of an extremely paranoid man, and Pruitt has plenty of reason to be: His job is hanging by a thread, as it’s been widely reported that everyone—other than the president, who’s come to his defense—wants him out of the administration. At least Pruitt will always have his lobbyist friends.