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Cooper: Why did Pruitt want an old mattress?

CNN's Anderson Cooper wonders why Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt asked an aide to get him a used mattress from a Trump hotel.

Posted: Jun 7, 2018 5:41 PM
Updated: Jun 7, 2018 5:41 PM

EPA administrator Scott Pruitt thinks Tulsa, Oklahoma, should have a chance to Eat Mor Chikin.

That was part of his explanation -- seriously, watch it -- for the revelation this week that he asked an aide to help his wife, Marlyn, get a foothold in the (lucrative) Chick-fil-A fast food game.

According to emails obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by the Sierra Club, a staffer emailed the company's executive side to set up a conversation between Pruitt and Chick-fil-A chief Dan Cathy about "a potential business opportunity."

The "opportunity" presented by the Pruitt aide was, as it turned out, actually "an expression of interest in (Pruitt's) wife becoming a Chick-fil-A franchisee," a company representative told The Washington Post.

In the end, the outreach didn't yield much. Pruitt's wife never completed her application. Pruitt gave that impenetrable response to a question about the story. Which means we can move on -- to another report, this one via Politico late Wednesday, that chews on Pruitt's appreciation for the menu options at the White House Mess, the Navy-run dining spot with top-notch food at bargain basement prices.

So frequent were his visits to the small hall, the story says, that he was politely asked, according to Politico, to pursue other dining options. Politico also surfaced a single month's tab, from July 2017, that came in at a little under $400 -- an impressively modest sum given its length.

Among the treats listed on the itemized bill for Pruitt and his guests: "Calypso Steak Salad," "Pineapple Glazed Salmon," and something called a "Ragin Cajun," which was ordered at two consecutive visits and three times that month.

Be it his dining tastes or business networking, the drumbeat of news about Pruitt suggests he's more interested in swimming laps in "the swamp" than draining it. There are, from him and his allies, reams of excuses, denials and deflections, but the sheer mass of reporting -- by the press, watchdogs groups, and internal investigators -- has managed to throw his position, from time to time, into some doubt.

Pruitt's appreciation for the finer things, so long as they come to him free or at a cut-rate, has become a running theme of his time in Washington. Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst, a Republican, recently called Pruitt "about as swampy as you get." The stories have become so frequent and, frankly, absurd, that even Fox News felt compelled to grill him on at least one reported round of shenanigans. (Caveat here: the accusation discussed then involved his side-stepping a White House directive not offer pay raises to staff, so the story could, in a way, have been considered flattering to Trump.)

More recently, in just the past couple weeks, The New York Times reported on his attendance -- courtside -- at a University of Kentucky basketball game late last year, with his son, in seats belonging to a billionaire coal executive. It was also revealed, in emails requested by the Sierra Club, that Pruitt's office spent more than $3,000 in public money on customized fountain pens and journals from a Washington boutique called the "Tiny Jewel Box."

Other notably swampy allegations against/stories about Pruitt include, but are surely not limited to:

Precisely how many more sour notes Pruitt is allowed to play before Trump gets fed up hearing about them on cable news is anyone's guess. Two close aides to Pruitt resigned on Wednesday, suggesting that dissatisfaction with the state of things at the EPA is not the sole province of those seeking to "derail the president's agenda," as the administrator suggested on Capitol Hill in April.

One half of the departing duo, Millan Hupp, had a turn in the headlines a few days ago when congressional Democrats released testimony in which she discussed Pruitt's pursuit of a used Trump Hotel mattress -- one in a series of personal errands it's been alleged he charged or allowed Hupp to lead.

So what does Trump think of it all? He weighed in on Wednesday, offering this assessment:

"EPA is doing really, really well. And you know, somebody has to say that about you a little bit," the President said of Pruitt. "EPA is doing so well. ... I think people are very happy with the job that's being done at the EPA."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 97638

Reported Deaths: 2067
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin27372932
Ramsey11088322
Dakota7635126
Anoka6238137
Stearns407724
Washington388355
Scott262533
Olmsted251928
Nobles197716
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Mower13425
Sherburne116914
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Lyon7224
Waseca6898
Benton5603
Crow Wing55518
Steele5552
Freeborn5464
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Chisago5131
Todd5042
McLeod5012
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Otter Tail4624
Beltrami4505
Martin43010
Goodhue3829
Itasca34715
Pine3430
Douglas3372
Polk3224
Isanti3151
Becker2812
Carlton2761
Morrison2682
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Pipestone23210
Cottonwood2280
Chippewa2231
Meeker2132
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Brown1962
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Cass1844
Redwood1773
Rock1760
Murray1722
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Jackson1491
Faribault1470
Swift1441
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Houston1280
Kanabec1278
Roseau1250
Koochiching1233
Pennington1201
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Grant634
Lake600
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Marshall531
Mahnomen491
Red Lake451
Traverse340
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Cook60

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 86860

Reported Deaths: 1315
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk16010262
Woodbury555467
Johnson517027
Black Hawk450990
Linn4101113
Story346217
Dubuque333241
Scott304528
Dallas280738
Pottawattamie215939
Buena Vista199912
Marshall179134
Sioux16803
Wapello134057
Webster128014
Plymouth116121
Clinton113021
Muscatine112155
Crawford11005
Cerro Gordo105921
Warren9666
Jasper86432
Des Moines8008
Marion7697
Henry7554
Tama73932
Carroll6855
Lee6437
Wright5961
Dickinson5306
Boone5178
Bremer5027
Washington47211
Louisa43115
Delaware4233
Mahaska41519
Floyd3543
Jackson3523
Franklin35118
Lyon3514
Winneshiek3406
Clay3344
Hamilton3323
Benton3281
Winnebago31713
Hardin3071
Poweshiek3078
Buchanan2861
Jones2843
Kossuth2800
Butler2752
Emmet27010
Clarke2683
Shelby2681
Allamakee2666
Chickasaw2661
Sac2650
Clayton2633
Cherokee2552
Cedar2521
Guthrie2527
Harrison2523
Fayette2312
Madison2272
Grundy2243
Iowa2161
Palo Alto2050
Hancock1952
Howard1927
Humboldt1913
Mitchell1910
Calhoun1873
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Page1710
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Osceola1690
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Monona1601
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Appanoose1423
Jefferson1391
Union1383
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Van Buren1151
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