Sen. Jim Inhofe (pictured) and his fellow GOP Oklahoma senator, Tom Coburn, are finding blind ideology a bit difficult at the moment.
AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki

Oklahoma’s Inhofe willing to give Pruitt a pass on corruption allegations

Updated

The Rachel Maddow Show, 6/5/18, 9:06 PM ET

Trump, GOP keep Scott Pruitt on despite flagrant abuse of office

Rachel Maddow shares reporting that Donald Trump EPA administrator Scott Pruitt tried to use his office as leverage to get his wife a Chick-fil-A franchise. There does not appear to be any dispute of the evidence that he did this.
The list of scandals surrounding EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt grew a little longer two weeks ago. The Washington Post  reported that Pruitt used his office and agency staff to reach out to the CEO of Chick-fil-A about “a potential business opportunity” – which turned out to be a possible franchise in Oklahoma for Pruitt’s wife.

This and similar efforts from Pruitt to use his position to improve his family’s finances appear to be at odds with the law, and the latest revelations pushed many on the right to call for the EPA chief’s ouster. Even Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), a staunch Pruitt ally, conceded, “Every day, something new comes out.”

Yesterday, the Oklahoma senator said he’d meet with Pruitt face to face and determine what should happen next. Apparently, the discussion happened this morning – and Inhofe came away satisfied.

The GOP lawmaker told Bloomberg News’ Ari Natter that he was “beginning to have doubts” about Pruitt, but those concerns about the EPA chief have been put to rest. Politico  reported:

Sen. Jim Inhofe says he’s confident in Scott Pruitt’s leadership after meeting with the embattled EPA chief Tuesday night — and said he’s “a little embarrassed” to have doubted his long-time friend from Oklahoma.

The Republican senator told reporters Wednesday that any of Pruitt’s lapses were minor and excusable given his lack of experience in Washington, but that many were simply untrue and fueled by critics of his deregulatory agenda.

Inhofe went on to blame former Pruitt colleagues, news organizations, and environmental activist Tom Steyer for the recent scandals.

Even by 2018 standards, this is bizarre.

At one point two weeks ago, for example, Inhofe acknowledged that the allegations against Pruitt look bad, but the Republican senator said he wasn’t yet sure whether to believe them. Asked about the Chick-fil-A story, Inhofe said on the record, “If that is true, that’s not going to be to his advantage and it would not be a good thing. The problem is, I’ve known him for so long and I just can’t see him doing something like that. So I’m going to assume it’s not true.”

The trouble is, we’ve seen the emails sent from Pruitt’s office. They’re uncontested. The allegations are true. Chick-fil-A has already confirmed the story.

Indeed, to date, none of the many allegations against Pruitt – he’s currently the subject of 14 separate federal investigations – have been discredited. In some cases, Pruitt has already admitted the allegations are accurate, but he just doesn’t care.

As of this morning, it appears James Inhofe doesn’t care, either.

EPA, James Inhofe, Oklahoma and Scandals

Oklahoma's Inhofe willing to give Pruitt a pass on corruption allegations

Updated