WASHINGTON (CBS News) — Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency who was key to implementing President Trump’s conservative agenda but came under intense scrutiny for a series of questionable ethical decisions, resigned Thursday afternoon.
In his resignation letter, obtained by CBS News, Pruitt cited “unrelenting attacks” on himself and his family as part of his decision to resign.
“I have accepted the resignation of Scott Pruitt as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency,” Trump tweeted earlier Thursday. “Within the Agency Scott has done an outstanding job, and I will always be thankful to him for this.”
Pruitt’s resignation follows months during which the EPA administrator has been embroiled in one ethics controversy after the next, becoming a constant source of embarrassment to a president who had entered Washington promising to “Drain the Swamp.”
Pruitt has faced an array of ethical questions about his travel spending, security costs, dealings with industry lobbyists and misuse of government resources. He had denied wrongdoing in the face of multiple congressional and oversight inquiries.
Despite the scandals, Trump has been approving of Pruitt’s efforts to reduce regulations that the administration says curb business growth. Activists have argued those cuts have endangered the environment.
Trump said on Twitter that Pruitt’s recently-Senate confirmed deputy Andrew Wheeler will on Monday assume the duties of acting administrator of the EPA.
“I have no doubt that Andy will continue on with our great and lasting EPA agenda. We have made tremendous progress and the future of the EPA is very bright!” Trump tweeted.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The CNN Wire and the Associated Press contributed to this report.)