January 30, 2018

Whitehouse to Press Pruitt on Bashing of Trump

Pruitt: ‘I believe that Donald Trump in the White House would be more abusive to the Constitution than Barack Obama – and that’s saying a lot’

Washington, DC – During a Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee hearing today, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) will press EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt on newly released and scathing comments about then-candidate Donald Trump during an interview with Oklahoma talk radio host Pat Campbell in 2016.  During the interview, Pruitt said Trump would be “more abusive to the Constitution than Barack Obama,” and agreed Trump is “dangerous” and a “bully” who would wield executive power as “a blunt instrument.”  Whitehouse was alerted to the comments by the watchdog group Documented, which released audio of the interview this morning.

Audio of Pruitt’s comments is available on Documented’s website.  A transcript is below. 

A livestream of the EPW hearing is accessible here.

Pat Campbell Show Transcript

February 4, 2016

KFAQ, Tulsa OK

Campbell: Given your comments about hubris, I’m going to say that you’re probably not a big Trump supporter?

Pruitt: No. No, He’s the very…and you say that Pat but do you know what’s interesting? I believe that Donald Trump in the White House would be more abusive to the Constitution than Barack Obama – and that’s saying a lot.

Campbell: Wow. That’s a news clip.

Pruitt: I really believe he would use a blunt instrument. This president at least tries to nuance his unlawfulness.

Campbell: Right.

Pruitt: Donald Trump has said many, many times they want… I’ll do this I’ll do that. And those things that he’s mentioned cannot be done. I think executive orders with Donald Trump would be a very blunt instrument with respect to the Constitution.

Campbell: So this is amazing because, coming from you, as the state Attorney General, and obviously the credibility you’ve got with our audience – you’re echoing basically what Glenn Beck has been saying for months. Everything that we loathe and detest about Barack Obama and the abuses of power, Donald Trump is the same thing except he’s our bully.

Pruitt: That’s right.

Campbell: And even with the executive orders because Ted Cruz has promised on day one he’s going to overturn every executive order that Barack Obama’s done and so has Donald Trump, however, when confronted by a reporter who said, does that mean you don’t believe in executive orders? Oh no, I’ll use them, but mine will be good ones.

Pruitt: And unapologetically. I mean, this president – I’ve been in DC the last couple of days. I was at the Reagan Library over the weekend, as I was sharing with you, speaking about federalism principles to the Federalist Society. This president has basically taken an approach that says that if Congress doesn’t act or they don’t act the way that I want them to, then I can act in their place.

Campbell: Right.

Pruitt: Well, that’s just not how our system works. This, if Donald Trump is the nominee and eventually the president, he would take, I think unapologetic steps, to use executive power to confront Congress in a way that is truly unconstitutional.

Campbell: It’s funny because I had a conversation with my dad not long ago, and my dad is an immigrant. He came here as a young child after World War II. And he doesn’t – he’s not real long-winded, like me. He summed up Donald Trump in one word. He said: he’s dangerous.

Pruitt: You know, your dad is very astute because I’ll say to you – I think he has tendencies that we see in emerging countries around the world where – he goes to the disaffected – those individuals. And says, look you give me power and I will give voice to your concerns. And that’s a dangerous place to be. And rule of law today – this president has done more to injure rule of law – he owes President Nixon an apology with respect to the use of executive power. But President Obama, we don’t need to replace him with another individual – as you said, our bully – in the White House, to do what he’s done from the Republican side of things.


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Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921