Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt said during a February 2016 interview on “The Pat Campbell Show” that then-candidate Donald Trump would be “more abusive to the Constitution than Barack Obama” if he won the election.
“I believe that Donald Trump in the White House would be more abusive to the Constitution than Barack Obama — and that’s saying a lot,” Pruitt said at the time, when he was working as a policy advisor to GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush and serving as Oklahoma’s attorney general.
An audio recording of the interview was released Tuesday by the watchdog group Documented, which says it “investigates how corporations manipulate public policy that harms our environment, communities and democracy.”
Pruitt also said that if Trump was elected, he would take “unapologetic steps, to use executive power to confront Congress in a way that is truly unconstitutional.”
“Donald Trump has said many, many times … I’ll do this I’ll do that. And those things that he’s mentioned cannot be done,” he said.
“I think executive orders with Donald Trump would be a very blunt instrument with respect to the Constitution.”
Pruitt told The Hill that his views of the president have changed since meeting him.
“After meeting him, and now having the honor of working for him, it is abundantly clear that President Trump is the most consequential leader of our time,” Pruitt said. “No one has done more to advance the rule of law than President Trump. The President has liberated our country from the political class and given America back to the people.”
The Hill added:
Since taking over as administrator in February, Pruitt has reshaped the EPA’s agenda, with a heavy focus on rolling back initiatives from the Obama administration.
He has also moved to downsize the EPA and has made major changes to the agency’s science advisory boards.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) pressed Pruitt at a Tuesday hearing of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee whether he recalled saying that Trump “would be more abusive to the Constitution than Barack Obama.”
“I don’t, senator,” Pruitt said at the hearing. “And I don’t echo that today at all.”