EPA chief says he bills taxpayers to fly first class for his 'security'


The EPA says Scott Pruitt has no choice but to travel in first class, because otherwise someone in the economy seats might try to beat him up.

Even as Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt has eviscerated his department, he has been living the high life on the taxpayers' dime.

Last year, Pruitt was among the many Trump officials busted jetting around on unnecessary charter flights, booking four trips on "Billionaire Air" that cost the government $58,000. But even after that stopped, Pruitt kept on traveling in style, racking up at least $90,000 on first-class airline tickets and sticking taxpayers with the bill.

But as Pruitt told The New Hampshire Union Leader on Tuesday, this time he has a very good reason for booking luxury flights: to prevent his unidentified critics who ride coach from trying to attack him.

"We live in a very toxic environment politically, particularly around issues of the environment," said Pruitt. "We've reached the point where there's not much civility in the marketplace and it's created, you know, it's created some issues and the [security] detail, the level of protection is determined by the level of threat."

Pruitt claims that there have been "incidents" that prompted this policy, but he didn't explain what the incidents were, how first class is more "secure," or why that same security detail cannot protect him in economy. Nor did a Washington Post Freedom of Information Act request into his travel records.

And somehow the vast majority of members of Congress manage to fly economy with no security issues.

This is not the first time someone has tried this excuse to explain away the administration's misuse of travel funds. During the Price scandal, conservative commentator Erick Erickson told "Fox & Friends" Price couldn't fly commercial because "the Left wants him dead" over Obamacare repeal. But this is the first time the argument is being raised by the administration itself.

Pruitt and EPA officials owe taxpayers a better explanation for how they are using government funds. The administration's accountability and credibility are severely lacking.