In a surprisingly firm interview, Fox News’ Ed Henry questioned Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt about the recent scandals plaguing his tenure, including a report that he gave two staffers big raises after the White House declined to approve the pay increases.
The Atlantic reported on Tuesday that the EPA chief increased the salaries of two close aides by $28,130 and $56,765, invoking an obscure law that allowed the raises to go through even though the White House had officially denied the requests.
Henry said his interview with Pruitt “got a little combative” as the EPA chief denied knowing about or having any involvement in the pay raises. Henry would not let him off the hook, demanding to know who was responsible.
Henry: So, is somebody being fired for that?
Pruitt: That should not have been done. And it may be —
Henry: So, who did it?
Pruitt: There will be some accountability.
Henry: A career person or a political person?
Pruitt: I’ll have to — I don’t know. I don’t know who’s —
Henry: You don’t know? You run the agency. You don’t know who did this?
Pruitt: I found out about this yesterday, and I corrected the action.
Henry also called out Pruitt for giving a pay raise that is close to the median yearly income in the U.S., which was $57,617 in 2016, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
“Are you embarrassed?” Henry asked.
The news comes after Pruitt had already been harshly criticized for wasting taxpayer money on first-class travel, which his office says is necessary because of safety concerns. Reports also recently surfaced that Pruitt had rented a condo for below-market rates for six months last year from the wife of a prominent energy lobbyist, a situation that raises ethics concerns.
Republicans and Democrats have called for Pruitt’s resignation.
Take a look at a clip from the interview in the video below.