According to a new report from Politico, EPA Cheif Scott Pruitt is now eyeing Jeff Session’s attorney general job.
Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, has told friends and associates that he’s interested in becoming attorney general, according to three people familiar with the internal discussions.
With rumors swirling that Jeff Sessions could depart the administration and two members of the House Freedom Caucus calling on the former Alabama senator to resign, Pruitt is quietly positioning himself as a possible candidate for the job.
“Pruitt is very interested,” a person close to him said. “He has expressed that on a number of occasions.”
It’s unclear whether Pruitt would be on the shortlist for the position, but people close to the president said Trump has grown to like him. Pruitt has emerged as the face of Trump’s deregulatory agenda, taking steps to overturn former President Barack Obama’s climate change regulations. He was also a leading advocate for pulling out of the Paris agreement on climate change.
This is beyond a bombshell. Trump and his base have become increasingly frustrated with the current attorney general Jeff Sessions and his lack of work as it pertains to investigating Hillary Clinton. Scott Pruitt, however, is on the rise with Trump and his base.
The EPA denied this.
“No, this is not true,” agency spokesman Jahan Wilcox said in a statement. “From creating regulatory certainty to cleaning up toxic superfund sites, Administrator Pruitt is solely focused on implementing President Trump’s agenda to protect the environment.”
Pruitt’s allies stressed that he is happy at the EPA and, in the words of one person who has talked to him, “feels he’s doing nation-changing work.”
One shocking part of this was the fact Pruitt might be interested in a Presidential run.
Pruitt has developed a reputation in Washington as one of the most ambitious members of Trump’s Cabinet, and people close to him have long suspected that he harbors bigger aspirations in politics, perhaps as governor or senator. Two people close to him also said he has toyed with the possibility of running for president someday.
This is the first we have heard of Pruitt’s wishing to become attorney general but it does raise two concerns for me. The first concern is that Scott Pruitt will be missed at the EPA. The environmental aspect of Trump’s agenda is a big one. It is important for whoever is at the EPA to not overreact and take the politics out of the organization. Pruitt has been strong in this so far and has been able to handle the heat that has been thrown his way. If Pruitt steps down Trump must find a viable candidate to take his place. The second concern would come in the fact Trump missed a huge opportunity. If Trump wanted to replace Sessions he should have sent him back to Alabama and ran him instead of Judge Roy Moore. This would have satisfied the base and given them a win in Alabama.