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Evangelical leader Tony Perkins defends Scott Pruitt: 'I don't think there's anything there'

Evangelical leader Tony Perkins defended Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt on Friday against...

Posted: Apr 7, 2018 8:26 PM
Updated: Apr 7, 2018 8:26 PM

Evangelical leader Tony Perkins defended Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt on Friday against a growing list of ethics controversies, saying he does not believe "there's anything there."

"The President has been very clear that these things are problematic as you look at them on their face," Perkins told CNN's Erin Burnett.

Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, argued that the controversies and allegations should be put in context. He cited security concerns to defend Pruitt in one of the controversies.

"I've spoken to a number of these Cabinet secretaries who are being threatened and harassed when they get on planes and they're flying in coach," he said. "He's getting eight times the number of threats his predecessor got."

Pruitt defended his first-class travel in February by saying it was for security purposes, citing the "toxic environment" in politics and implying he was less likely to face threats in a first-class crowd.

"This is how vicious things have become in the polarized political environment," Perkins added. "So I think you have to look at that all in the context of personal security."

Perkins, a supporter of President Donald Trump's socially conservative policies, said in January that the evangelical community has given the President a "mulligan" when it comes to his personal behavior.

Citing Perkins' evangelical background, Burnett asked about concerns that Americans may have with Pruitt's list of ethics scandals.

"Do you, though, understand the concerns some might have?" Burnett asked. "They say you're speaking for evangelicals. As a man of faith, a man who defends morals and character. And we are seeing someone who appears to be compromised on that front, but ... it doesn't seem to bother you. Why?"

Perkins said he did not see a problem with the EPA chief trying to protect himself.

"What about the condo?" Burnett countered.

"I don't know all the facts in the condo," Perkins said.

In late March, ABC News reported that Pruitt stayed in a condo co-owned by Vicki Hart, a lobbyist whose husband, J. Steven Hart, works for a firm that has lobbied on energy issues. A Bloomberg report said the deal on the condo gave Pruitt a price of $50 a night for a bedroom, and only on nights when he slept there.

Perkins continued to argue that he couldn't comment on condo controversy because he didn't know the details.

Burnett told Perkins, "It feels like you're cherry-picking."

Perkins denied he was being selective with Pruitt's controversies, but went on to highlight the EPA chief's success at accomplishing the Trump administration's agenda.

"The President likes him," he said. "It's been good for business. The left is upset with him. They're going to find anything they can. And if there's anything there, I believe it will come out."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 33068

Reported Deaths: 2068
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9524558
Lake3494175
Cass15897
Allen141966
St. Joseph122134
Hendricks114268
Hamilton113292
Elkhart110128
Johnson1092106
Madison58459
Porter50522
Bartholomew49034
Clark47941
LaPorte42022
Tippecanoe3823
Howard37824
Delaware37636
Jackson3721
Shelby36822
Hancock32727
Floyd31739
Boone30535
Morgan27724
Vanderburgh2592
Montgomery23417
White2308
Decatur22431
Clinton2221
Noble20421
Grant19721
Dubois1903
Harrison18921
Henry16910
Greene16824
Monroe16512
Warrick16528
Dearborn16521
Vigo1538
Lawrence15223
Miami1401
Putnam1357
Jennings1294
Orange12422
Scott1203
Ripley1106
Franklin1098
Kosciusko1011
Carroll933
Daviess8416
Steuben812
Marshall801
Newton7610
Wayne756
Fayette747
Wabash742
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Jasper661
Washington511
Jay490
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Rush452
Randolph453
Jefferson431
Pulaski410
Whitley383
Owen351
Sullivan341
DeKalb331
Brown331
Starke323
Perry280
Wells270
Benton260
Huntington262
Knox250
Tipton241
Crawford230
Blackford222
Parke190
Spencer191
Switzerland190
Fountain182
Posey160
Gibson142
Adams131
Ohio130
Warren121
Vermillion100
Martin90
Union80
Pike60
Unassigned0161

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 33915

Reported Deaths: 2098
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin5566253
Cuyahoga4211226
Marion264225
Hamilton2555135
Lucas2178240
Pickaway204836
Mahoning1397173
Summit1335172
Butler84728
Stark70591
Columbiana68451
Lorain66759
Montgomery63717
Trumbull55147
Belmont41212
Miami35230
Warren35119
Tuscarawas3373
Ashtabula32434
Portage31857
Medina31322
Delaware31013
Lake29012
Wood28246
Geauga27231
Wayne26049
Fairfield2515
Clark2345
Licking22210
Allen20632
Clermont2025
Mercer2016
Richland1933
Erie1656
Darke16221
Madison1487
Washington11819
Crawford1103
Morrow1041
Greene1015
Ottawa9312
Putnam8814
Monroe7512
Sandusky7211
Hocking694
Ross672
Jefferson662
Auglaize653
Huron561
Williams511
Hancock512
Union491
Muskingum480
Clinton430
Hardin420
Shelby403
Fayette390
Wyandot382
Logan370
Fulton370
Coshocton370
Guernsey340
Defiance332
Preble331
Carroll303
Lawrence290
Holmes291
Brown281
Champaign271
Knox231
Highland221
Seneca202
Vinton192
Ashland190
Athens181
Perry181
Henry150
Scioto150
Jackson130
Paulding130
Harrison100
Adams81
Gallia71
Van Wert60
Pike60
Meigs60
Noble50
Morgan50
Unassigned00
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