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Dickinson writes: "Scott Pruitt is at the center of a political firestorm that may see him removed from the Trump administration. It's a stark turn of events for the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, who has seen himself as on a mission from God."

EPA administrator Scott Pruitt attends a meeting with state and local officials and President Trump about infrastructure in the State Dining Room of the White House. (photo: Carolyn Kaster/AP/REX)
EPA administrator Scott Pruitt attends a meeting with state and local officials and President Trump about infrastructure in the State Dining Room of the White House. (photo: Carolyn Kaster/AP/REX)

The Divine Paranoia of Scott Pruitt

By Tim Dickinson, Rolling Stone

22 April 18

The EPA chief is on a mission from God – but fears greenies bearing guns

cott Pruitt is at the center of a political firestorm that may see him removed from the Trump administration. It’s a stark turn of events for the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, who has seen himself as on a mission from God.

The former church deacon is an adherent of a religious dogma that holds that the Earth’s resources are man’s divine inheritance. Pruitt blasts the environmental movement’s push to keep fossil fuels in the ground as "wrongheaded." In a February interview with the Christian Broadcast Network, Pruitt elaborated: "The biblical worldview with respect to these issues is that we have a responsibility to ... harvest the natural resources that we've been blessed with, to truly bless our fellow mankind."

This belief guided Pruitt as he pushed Trump to exit the Paris Climate Accords, to shelve the Clean Power Plan, and most recently, to roll back fuel efficiency targets for automakers. Pruitt insists his career in politics was born of prayer – and the question, "God what do you want to do with me?" This heavenly mission just happens to align with the profit motives of the nation’s fossil fuel producers, which backed his career in Oklahoma with more than $350,000 in donations.

When it comes to global warming, Pruitt preaches a gospel of ignorance. In a February TV interview, Pruitt pooh-poohed the notion that climate change is an "existential threat," insisting: "We know that humans have most flourished during times of — what? — warming trends. So I think there’s assumptions made that because the climate is warming that that’s necessarily a bad thing." Thumbing his nose at efforts to curb global temperature rise, Pruitt said it was "arrogant" for man to think we know what the ideal temperature should be.

But there’s a strange contradiction at the heart of the EPA chief’s makeup. Pruitt’s messianic streak, his sense of divine righteousness, is paired with an intense paranoia that he will be struck down by godless greenies. Denouncing his Democratic predecessors for "weaponizing" the EPA against energy producers, Pruitt seems convinced that environmental activists are out to get him – with real guns.

The evidence is both compelling and bizzare. Consider that Pruitt sought to have a bullet-proof desk installed at his office, according to the New York Times, which reports the administrator also sought to travel in a bullet-proof SUV – with tires that could survive gunfire.

These details follow on revelations that Pruitt has tripled his predecessor’s security detail – ramping up to an estimated 20 bodyguards – to provide him with 24-hour protection, at salaries, CNN estimated, of nearly $2 million per year. Pruitt’s security entourage has accompanied him at public expense on non-official trips, including to Disneyland, the Rose Bowl, and visits home to Oklahoma. The tab for his security staff to protect him on an official trip to Italy was more than $30,000.

Pruitt has also been racking up huge travel bills, flying first class for what the EPA alleges were security reasons. Pruitt similarly has refused to publish his daily schedule in advance, "due to security concerns." Pruitt seems convinced that his lurking enemies are spying even inside EPA headquarters; he spent more than $40,000 of taxpayer money to construct a sound-proof phone booth in his Washington office.

Pruitt’s paranoid devotion to his personal security predictably led to false alarms. In March 2017, Pruitt’s bodyguards reportedly busted down the door of the condo he rented in D.C. when they could not reach him on his cell phone. They found him awaking from a nap.

This same condo – rented for a paltry $50 a night from a lobbyist whose clients reportedly had business before the EPA – is at the center of a growing scandal of alleged corruption and excess. Pruitt reportedly demanded a slew of presidential-style perks, including sirens to speed his motorcade through crowded D.C. streets to make a dinner reservation at the brasserie Le Diplomate.

If Pruitt had been dreaming of a potential 2024 White House run, his divine path may instead be hitting a dead-end of his own paranoid excess. White House chief of staff John Kelly has reportedly called for Pruitt’s ouster. Top deputies are leaving in droves. For the moment, President Trump is sticking by the man he’s trusted to dismantle the EPA, and whom he’d reportedly viewed as a potential upgrade to Jeff Sessions as attorney general.

Friday morning Trump fired off a tweet of encouragement that, too, seemed to buy into Pruitt’s exaggerated fear of external dangers: Pruitt is "doing a great job," Trump wrote, "but is TOTALLY under siege." your social media marketing partner


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+29 # BetaTheta 2018-04-22 10:14
Poor Mr. Pruitt. He needs to be sent back to Oklahoma - for his own safety.
-47 # brycenuc 2018-04-22 10:45
Trump and Pruitt are right on the climate- change issue. The alarmists who claim that CO2 will cause unacceptable world temperature rise are the ones who are anti-science. CO2 gives the world its greenery and its food supply, and without it, all life on earth would end.
+22 # Michaeljohn 2018-04-22 15:59
Uh huh, and I'll bet you see nothing wrong with using all of our fresh water supply for fracking to extract those god given resources; after all who needs clean water?

I would suggest you educate yourself about dynamic systems, positive and negative feedback and chaotic instabilities ...
0 # LionMousePudding 2018-04-25 23:44
Thanks for the giggle, I needed it!
+30 # PABLO DIABLO 2018-04-22 12:57
Goodbye and good riddance. He might not care about the environment, but most of the rest of us do.
+26 # Texas Aggie 2018-04-22 13:56
The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him. -Niccolo Machiavelli

And that suits for mental stability as well. Is there anyone in the drumpf cabinet who isn't a raving mental case? We have most of them competing for the king of jesters prize, and their leader is favored to win. But don't count out other morons like Pruitt, the Elf, DeVos, Carson and Perry
+16 # indian weaving 2018-04-23 08:51
How about Zinke and Mnuchin, also dangerous ignorant idiots like the rest of them.
+16 # indian weaving 2018-04-22 15:07
Where's Earth First when we need them?
+5 # janie1893 2018-04-23 01:30
I believe it is too late. I think mankind has
abused and raped and destroyed earth's environment to the point that, for many ecological reasons, The planet has already begun dying a very slow and painful death, including the extinction of many other living species. Mankind is a parasite on Planet Earth and we are sucking all the nutrients from it in a haphazard, wasteful manner!!!
+8 # Jim at Dr.Democracy on Facebook 2018-04-24 16:06
The planet is not dying. This planet will not die until the sun starts expanding toward its nova phase. It's lifespan, billions of years more yet, will see it through all kinds of phases, including adjustments and readjustments in the atmosphere.

In the meantime, many, many, many species have come and gone. And many, many, many more species will pass into history and archeology.

Humankind may well assassinate itself through greed, war and ignorance.

Our species appears to be terminally sick with greed, war and ignorance.
+16 # librarian1984 2018-04-23 10:16
Pruitt, voted Most Likely to Declare Himself Emperor, was a deacon?

How, exactly, did Christ's teachings become so twisted? Prosperity theology seems SO wrong, yet creeps like Pruitt use it successfully to justify much abuse and corruption.

I would hate to live in Pruitt's mind. He seems genuinely unhinged.

Betsy DeVos is another one who has a huge security detail and sees herself as a victim even as she's deconstructing our government and hurting American citizens. We're supposed to be polite while they stab us in the back, smile as they twist the knife.
+15 # Wise woman 2018-04-23 10:49
Paranoia is a mental disorder which should disqualify anyone from public office. Due to his disease, Pruitt arms himself like a scared dictator at enormous tax payer expense. At some level he knows that he is hated by many. Why else would he think he needs more protection than trump?
+10 # AlexG 2018-04-23 17:56
Agreed, Pruitt's cherry-picked rejections of the scientific method, in favor of his magical-thinkin g, ego-primitive religious beliefs -- should especially disqualify him from THIS public office. And ditto for the mentally-disord ered president who appointed him and the congressbots who approved the appointment.
But, since Pruitt's mad agenda is now well-underway, the immediate question is: Why isn't Pruitt promptly called before congress, via members who're still halfway sane, to publicly account for his & Trump's provably ruinous environmental policies..?
This absence of intellectual initiative on congress's part, in turn highlights a yet deeper problem, viz: the mental disorder of the present, Demo leadership itself
+2 # Moxa 2018-04-23 21:11
Actually, I can see why he'd fear for his life.
+11 # Moxa 2018-04-23 21:22
Pruitt's actions don't even make sense from his own premise. If he really believed that the world and its resources were man's inheritance from God, wouldn't he feel such a gift should be treasured and protected, rather than raped and pillaged? What an insult to God, to destroy His irreplaceable gift!
+9 # DongiC 2018-04-24 02:26
Pruitt as head of the EPA is simply outrageous. This selection alone is sufficient proof that our president is deranged and should be put out to pasture. Pruitt is an enemy of the environment; why is he tasked with preserving it? Trying to cloak his actions with divine approval is pathetic. My God wants us to protect His creation, not pollute it.
+7 # moreover 2018-04-25 01:39
My interpretation of his paranoia:
He knows full well that he is guilty as hell and fears his comeuppance.
+4 # draypoker 2018-04-25 04:50
A Constitution which is "fit for purpose" would prevent the ignorant and unsuitable people from occupying important positions in the society. The US government seems to be occupied at present by exactly those people, incapable of governing because of their ignorance and delusions of competence.

The British and Canadian systems filter out such people.

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