“We’ve got your back,” Trump told Pruitt on Monday, Fox News said in a report citing two administration officials.
Trump encouraged the EPA chief to “keep his head up” and “keep fighting,” CBS News confirmed in a separate report.
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly also called Pruitt to reiterate the president’s message, per CBS News.
Questions continue to swirl over Pruitt’s use of taxpayer funds.
On March 29, ABC News reported that Pruitt had rented a condo last year that was linked to a lobbyist whose firm represents fossil fuel companies. He paid an eyebrow-raising low price for the property ― just $50 per night, according to Bloomberg ― which sparked more questions over a possible exchange of favors between the EPA and the industry it regulates.
Pruitt has also faced criticism on the travel expenses he’s racked up. The EPA chief was widely mocked earlier this year for defending his first-class travel due to “security concerns” ― which evidently consisted of angry members of the public confronting him on planes. He’s also spent tens of thousands on extreme office security measures during his tenure.
The Trump administration, however, appears pleased with Pruitt’s job performance. The EPA chief announced a plan Monday to roll back Obama-era fuel emissions standards for cars and light trucks. Those standards had helped reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but Pruitt said his move would help auto manufacturers produce affordable vehicles.