Embattled Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt went on Fox News on Wednesday to defend himself from the (by all accounts accurate) charges that he is a greedy and corrupt Washington ghoul.
The interview went quite badly—partially because Fox News made one of its bi-annual decisions to hold a Republican accountable, and partially because Pruitt came off as addled, unprepared, shifty, and totally unrepentant.
It went so badly, in fact, that the White House began distancing itself from Pruitt in quite ominous (for him, anyway) terms.
White House officials are also uneasy with the administrator’s recent publicity push with conservative media outlets, including his appearance on Fox News. They had urged Pruitt not to do any interviews Tuesday or Wednesday, according to several senior administration officials, but he disregarded that advice.
From a White House spokesperson:
Of course, Trump himself is complicating things somewhat, as he often does.
However, we all know that Trump is, uh, not exactly trustworthy, so take that one with a grain of salt. Whatever happens, Pruitt’s decision to defend himself so publicly appears to have been a disastrous error.