Why Is Scott Pruitt So Obsessed With His Security?

Cheriss May/NurPhoto via ZUMA

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The Washington Post puts some numbers to a story that we’ve known for a while: EPA director Scott Pruitt flies first class a lot. He also has a much bigger security detail than most heads of cabinet-level agencies:

On Monday, June 5, accompanied by his personal security detail, Pruitt settled into his $1,641.43 first-class seat for a short flight from the District to New York City….Raced to New York on a military jet, at a cost of $36,068.50, to catch a plane to Rome….Met with papal officials, business executives and legal experts…cost at least $90,000….That figure does not account for the costs of Pruitt’s round-the-clock security detail, which have not been disclosed.

….In an interview Friday, Bowman said the agency doesn’t release Pruitt’s schedule in advance “due to security concerns” and because it could be a “distraction” from the trips….The agency records show that wherever Pruitt’s schedule takes him, he often flies first or business class, citing unspecified security concerns. The EPA’s assistant inspector general for investigations told The Post in September that Pruitt has gotten a higher number of threats than his recent predecessors.

….“It is acutely paranoid,” Schaeffer said of the EPA’s refusal to disclose Pruitt’s whereabouts on any given day….Last week, for instance, Pruitt surfaced in Florida, to the surprise of reporters who cover the EPA and even media outlets in the state. An official said the agency notified some local and national outlets. The EPA has also declined at times to confirm in advance Pruitt’s speaking engagements to various industry and political groups.

Personally, I wouldn’t really have a problem if cabinet-level officials were allowed to travel business or first class. Rank hath its privileges and all that. But the security stuff is crackers. Does Pruitt just like the status of having a bunch of security guys around at all times? Is he truly paranoid that someone might want to assassinate the head of the EPA? Does he keep his trips secret because he doesn’t want the press around, or to reduce the chances of being assassinated? Did he insist on all this stuff back when he was just a minor state official in Oklahoma?

What the hell is up with this guy?

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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