Following reports that the Environmental Protection Agency head spent upwards of $3 million on security detail so he and his family could go to Disneyland and the Rose Bowl, John Oliver destroyed Scott Pruitt on his show Sunday night. In addition to his spending on a 20-person security team, Pruitt has also been caught reportedly overspending on first-class flights and hotel stays, among other controversies, since he took his position in February last year. This latest scandal pushed Oliver over the edge.
“OK, so I’m a little torn on this one,” the late night host said of Pruitt's security costs for his family vacations. “Because on the one hand, that does seem wasteful, but on the other hand, if anyone needs security at Disneyland, it’s Scott Pruitt — a man who even Mickey and Minnie Mouse would tell to go f*ck himself.”
Oliver described Pruitt as having an "aggressively pro-industry stance," and noted that his LinkedIn page refers to him as "a leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda" — despite him leading the EPA. Most of last night's segment was dedicated to Pruitt's "sudden fall from grace," as Oliver called it.
The scandals that have surfaced since Pruitt took office include the EPA head reportedly renting a room from health-care lobbyist Vicki Hart for just $50 per night, which is markedly lower than the average rate in the area, around $142 per night, the Washington Post reported. He's also been accused of granting unauthorized raises to two of his favorite aides, which he later denied having any knowledge of on Fox News.
Oliver reviewed some of these scandals one at a time. He started with the apartment Pruitt rented for much cheaper than market rate. The only rooms Oliver found on Airbnb that cost $50 per night or less included two rooms that were just big enough for a bed, and a couch nicknamed “Black Beauty.”
He went on to talk about how Pruitt remained in the lobbyist’s apartment long after his lease was up, causing the landlords to eventually push him out and change the locks on the property. There was also an incident during which Pruitt's security detail busted down a door at the apartment because the EPA head was "unresponsive." While no details have been confirmed about the incident, sources told ABC News Pruitt was only napping. Taxpayers were charged more than $2,400 to repair the door.
The Last Week Tonight host also went in on Pruitt's responses to these controversies when he appeared on Fox News. Oliver described the EPA head as "completely unprepared" to address the scandals. When confronted about how he went around the White House to give two of his aides raises, Pruitt said he didn't do that, his "staff did," although he couldn't name who or say what consequences they would face. "I found out about this yesterday," he claimed.
When asked about his preference for first-class travel, Pruitt explained that it was for safety reasons. "Changes were made to ensure my safety," he explained, "that included my ability to exit a plane expeditiously if an incident arose." Although he added that he was no longer flying first-class as much lately.
Of the Fox News interview, which was harsher on Pruitt than he maybe anticipated, Oliver joked, "That is the face of a man who thought he was walking into an Applebee's, and ended up in an apple full of bees." He went on to say that "amazingly" as of his show's taping, "Pruitt somehow still has a job, with the president saying on Thursday, 'I think he's done a fantastic job at EPA... I think he'll be fine.'"
Oliver suggests that perhaps Trump feels this way because Pruitt's doing exactly what he'd hoped, including "dismantling the EPA and wrecking the environment," he said. "Or maybe Trump just now knows that if you want to get rid of Scott Pruitt, you're gonna have to kick his door down, wake him from a nap, drag him out, and eventually change the f*cking locks."