Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) mocked Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt on Wednesday for spending $100,000 on first-class flights because the continued use of coach seats would “endanger his life,” telling him that “nobody even knows who you are.”
“What a silly reason you had to fly first class, because of a danger to you, unless you flew first class,” Leahy told Pruitt at a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing for the EPA. “Nobody even knows who you are.”
“Oh, somebody might criticize you? You got security people that we’ve never seen before. But you have to fly first-class?” Leahy continued. “Oh, come on.”
.@SenatorLeahy to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt: "You have to fly first class? Oh, come on."
— CSPAN (@cspan) May 16, 2018
The Hill added:
Pruitt has come under fire for a number of questionable expenses and arrangements in recent months. Politico reported in March that the EPA administrator had spent more than $105,000 on first-class flights, in addition to $58,000 spent to charter private and military planes.
The EPA has said that the first-class flights were necessary, because of security threats against Pruitt. In a memo obtained by The Washington Post last week, the head of Pruitt’s security detail requested business or first-class seating for the administrator, because of passengers “lashing out” at Pruitt when he was seated in coach.
“We believe that the continued use of coach seats for the Administrator would endanger his life and therefore respectfully ask that he be placed in either business or first class accommodations,” the memo reads.