The media is desperate to find scandals within the Trump administration, especially with regard to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, since he represents defiance of the climate change alarmist orthodoxy. While there have been no large scandals for Pruitt, there seems to be a continuous stream of little ones. Sweetheart real estate deals from lobbyists, overspending on office supplies, enlisting federal employees and using his position to influence personal business, etc.
While some Republicans in Congress are even describing Pruitt as “swampy,” what strikes me as odd is that there seems to be almost no online swell of support from the #MAGA peanut gallery. Sure there are some op-eds out there by loyal Trump surrogates which don’t necessarily defend Pruitt himself as much as question the left’s motives for scrutinizing him. The rank and file on Twitter who seem eager to pick up their torches and pitchforks whenever a critic on the right fails to sufficiently praise the current administration seem relatively silent on Pruitt’s
I’m cynical enough about Washington bureaucracy to believe if you dig enough you’ll find such random acts of impropriety in nearly every agency and probably at every level, no matter who is sitting in the White House. That doesn’t excuse it of course. I know when I worked for a federal agency I saw people who spent many hours every week day-trading stocks, managing fantasy football teams, blogging, sleeping, and even looking at online porn on the taxpayers’ dime. (Back in the late ’90s I remember one of our agency’s I.T. guys telling me that the top three categories of web traffic were stock trading sites, sports sites, and porn sites, not necessarily in that order.) That doesn’t even get into the actually criminal activity I witnessed.
Government is always wasteful and corrupt no matter which tribe’s chieftain sits on the throne. Looking for examples of waste, fraud, and abuse in a federal agency is a lot like looking for sand at the beach. Whether you find any is only dependent on whether you actually choose to look. (It’s very similar to how homelessness as a problem remains fairly constant while media coverage suggests that it is far worse under Republicans.) When Republicans—especially Republicans who fail to set their hair on fire over global warming—hold office, the media (i.e. the left) makes a point of looking for waste, fraud, and abuse. When Democrats hold office, they don’t. Nevertheless, the waste, fraud, and abuse probably remains a relatively constant problem.
This selective outrage happens in both directions though. The red cappers who are virtually silent on Scott Pruitt’s peccadilloes would have lost their minds had a member of Obama’s cabinet attempted to use his influence to wangle a Chick-Fil-A franchise for his wife. Actually, a member of Obama’s cabinet probably wouldn’t dare associate with “gay-hating” Chick-Fil-A, so let’s say it was a Starbucks franchise. The abuse of power would be the same. The attention it got from the right would be vastly different. The left’s selective outrage is always more apparent because they have more microphones, but in terms of holding their own side accountable, left and right are both reluctant at best.
The White House is remaining tight lipped with regard to Pruitt using EPA employees to help him find an apartment or score a used mattress from a Trump hotel. Maybe that’s why the rabble has yet to be roused. Are they waiting for orders from on high as to what position to take on Pruitt.
Scanning the Twitterverse I have found A LOT of anti-Pruitt material from both verified users as well as the rank and file. Those threads I skimmed seemed devoid of Pruitt defenders. I’m sure there are some, but nothing remotely approaching the piranha feeding frenzy that results from a tweet dragging Trump. It just seems odd.
(I’m probably setting myself up for something like the sports talk radio host in Dave Barry’s novel Big Trouble. “Gator fans never call in when they lose,” he’d say, only to receive calls from Gator fans with nothing more to say than, “I’m a Gator fan and I’m calling.”)