Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Scott Pruitt used the White House mess hall so often that Cabinet members were warned not to treat the exclusive restaurant as their personal dining hall.
Politico reported Thursday that Pruitt’s frequent use of the restaurant prompted the warning during a Cabinet meeting last year, adding that there were only a few tables available in the Navy-run restaurant open to White House officials and Cabinet members.
A source close to Pruitt told the news outlet that the message for the EPA chief at the meeting was clear: “We love having Mr. Pruitt, but it’s not meant for everyday use.”
Allies to Pruitt disputed to Politico that he was the sole culprit who prompted the warning, but did not challenge the assertion that Pruitt visited the restaurant frequently.
Documents obtained by Politico show that Pruitt dined at the White House restaurant, located in the basement next to the situation room, nine times over the course of July 2017, racking up a bill of about $400.
While Pruitt frequently used the restaurant, Politico notes that prices at the restaurant run cheaper than other D.C. restaurants, serving steaks for $10.25 and burgers for just over $6.
Calendars also showed that Pruitt frequently invited guests to dine with him, enjoying specialty dishes such as skirt steaks and a dessert known as the “Chocolate Freedom,” which was also known to be a favorite of Obama administration officials.
Pruitt has been the subject of several scandals over the past few months and saw two top aides resign this week over concerns about seeing their names in headlines connected to the EPA’s troubles.
Among other investigations, the EPA chief is accused of going around the White House to approve raises for top aides and renting a condo co-owned by the wife of a top energy lobbyist.
BY JOHN BOWDEN – 06/07/18