The Video Loss Weekly Digest is a newsletter of media, politics, and dreams.
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt is living his best life.
According to the Washington Post, a congressional investigation is uncovering more examples of Pruitt’s brazen mismanagement of the EPA: two former aides say he tasked them with reviewing his rental agreement and helping find his wife a six-figure job in Washington. These revelations follow months of reporting about Pruitt’s habits as EPA head, including tasking his staff with buying him protein bars and hotel lotion, his extensive first-class travel habits, an insistence on vigorous personal security details, and a general disregard for the EPA’s mission, values, and employees. At some point, you have to respect the hustle.
See, Scott Pruitt does not like the EPA. He sued it fourteen times to protest its pollution safeguards! But now, because we are living in this nightmare world, he is in charge of the EPA.
If you were a follower of Donald Trump—a man whose entire existence has been predicated on the most pathetically fragrant displays of wealth and corruption—and suddenly given the keys to an organization you detest, what would you do?
If you’re Scott Pruitt, you would immediately and aggressively take advantage of this new power for personal gain in the most ridiculous, corrupt boss fashion possible. Per the Post:
According to a current and former EPA official, Pruitt routinely asked his assistants — including then-executive scheduler Sydney Hupp — to put hotel reservations on their personal credit cards rather than his own.
In one instance, according to former deputy chief of staff Kevin Chmielewski, Hupp was stuck with a bill of roughly $600 for a booking she had made for the administrator’s family during the transition. Chmielewski said in an interview last month that he was in Jackson’s office when Hupp approached Pruitt’s chief of staff to explain that the period for transition reimbursements had expired and that Pruitt had not covered the bill.
It is extremely amusing that Scott Pruitt, a man who spent years arguing against government overreach, would immediately spend $600 on a hotel room during the transition process and then be too shitty even to reimburse the employee who paid for it. But it’s also indicative of the kind of EPA he is running: a shameless front for corruption that only benefits the person at the very top. It’s like he’s running his rich Dad’s landscaping company and just absolutely abusing his role as boss. But instead it’s a government agency and he’s a public official.
Again, props to Pruitt for just going for it and not even trying to hide his intentions. We are living in a time where just about every federal agency is being dragged into the mud by snide opportunists. Yet they all still are trying to pretend that there is an inherent reasoning behind what they are doing. Department of Homeland Security building child cages to fulfill Stephen Miller’s high school fantasy? Necessary and within the scope of the agency’s authority according to Kirstjen Nielsen! Even Ben Carson, for all of his ridiculous desk choices, is still saying there is a legitimate rationale behind his decision to raise the rent on subsidized housing.
By way of stupidity or just an absolute disregard for the office he manages (likely a combination of both), Pruitt’s actions are making it clear he is solely in this for the personal and financial gain of himself, his family, and no one else. At this point, it’s refreshing how open he is being about his motives.
The Video Loss opinion? Ride this train all the way down, buddy.