AP FACT CHECK: Trump skews facts on EPA ethics woes

Published 8:15 am Tuesday, April 10, 2018

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is sidestepping facts when it comes to the ethical questions swirling around Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt.

Trump declares that a Capitol Hill condominium rented by Pruitt that had ties to a Washington lobbyist was appropriately priced at “market rate” — even though an EPA ethics attorney now acknowledges he wasn’t given the full information when he reviewed the deal. Trump’s statement that Pruitt’s security spending was “somewhat more” than his Democratic predecessor glosses over the reality of a 20-member full-time detail that is three times bigger than was assigned to EPA’s chief in the Obama administration.
TRUMP: “While Security spending was somewhat more than his predecessor, Scott Pruitt has received death threats because of his bold actions at EPA. Record clean Air & Water while saving USA Billions of Dollars. Rent was about market rate, travel expenses OK. Scott is doing a great job!” — tweet Saturday.

THE FACTS: Trump minimizes the impact of Pruitt’s security spending when he says it is only “somewhat more” than before.

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AP reported last week that Pruitt’s concern for his safety led to a ballooning security detail that blew through overtime budgets. New procedures let Pruitt fly first-class on commercial airliners, with the security chief typically sitting next to him with other security staff farther back in the plane.

Pruitt’s predecessor, Gina McCarthy, had a security detail that numbered about a half dozen, less than a third the size of Pruitt’s 20-member full-time detail. She flew coach and was not accompanied by security during her off hours.