In a Wednesday interview with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt, Fox News' Ed Henry pulled no punches.


Pruitt's ​position in the White House is on shaky ground due to his entanglement in numerous scandals,​ including the renting of a reduced-cost condo from a lobbyist's wife, using tax money for travel costs, and exploiting loopholes to give his staff raises.


TALKING POINTS

  • Straight to the point. Henry didn't dance around: "Why​ did you accept $50 a night to rent a condo from the wife of a Washington lobbyist?"

  • Pruitt pleaded innocence. "This is the actual rate," he maintained. "This was like an Airbnb situation."

  • Henry didn't bite. Cutting Pruitt off, Henry called foul: "I've never heard of an apartment like that. I've lived in Washington for twenty-five years."

  • Corporate ties. Henry pointed out that the lobbyist Pruitt rented from works with Exxon Mobile. "Does Exxon mobile have business before you?!" he demanded of an unresponsive Pruitt.

  • An un-drained swamp. "Is draining the swamp renting an apartment from the wife of a Washington lobbyist?”

  • Backed into a corner. Henry's refusal to let Pruitt escape tied up the EPA chief's tongue. His defense? “I don’t think that that’s even remotely fair to ask that question.”

  • A failure to communicate. The back-and-forth continued with Henry persistently repeating down-to-it questions - "You go to Morocco [on taxpayers' money]... how much did it cost?!" Pruitt, for his part, scrambled to answer diplomatically: "The question, Ed, is this - what was the business we were conducting there?"

  • Like a deer in headlights. On the topic of his two staffers getting raises despite White House opposition, Pruitt maintained it was done by someone on his staff - not him - though he couldn't say who.

  • And the badgering continued. "You don’t know? You run the agency! You don’t know who did it?” Henry wasn't having any of it.

  • Hints of nepotism. Henry wasn't shy in pointing out: "Both of these staffers who got these large pay raises are friends of yours."

BACKSTORY

Such a scathing interview hasn't been the norm for Fox News when it's come to Pruitt. 


Until now, the conservative news outlet has typically ​avoi​​ded​ discussion of Pruitt's alleged corrupt travel expenses. The EPA director has responded in kind by ​choosing Fox News for an overwhelming majority of his TV appearances.


Pruitt and Fox News have mirrored each other on a number of environmental issues, ​including ​criticizing the greenhouse gas-reducing Paris Agreement and ​openly ​questioning climate change.

Now, not only does he seem to have fallen from grace in Fox News, but rumo​rs abound that Trump may be a hair away from dumping Pruitt altogether.


Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders didn't do much to dispel the rumors in her Wednesday ​​briefing​: "The President is not [okay with Pruitt's behavior]. We’re reviewing the situation. When we have had a chance to have a deeper dive on it, we’ll let you know the outcomes of that."


Asked on Thursday whether he has confidence in Pruitt, ​Trump answered "I do." This is something only two days before he couldn't quite bring himself to say. Talking to Baltic leaders on Tuesday, Trump elusively said of his EPA chief, "I hope he's going to be great."