Smokey Joe Sticks up for Pollutin’ Pruitt

April 26, 2018

“Smokey Joe” Barton, Republican of Texas, is justly famous for abjectly apologizing to BP executives when congress and the Obama administration called them to account for the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster of 2010.

He solidifies his place in history with his ringing defense of ethically challenged EPA Director Scott Pruitt.

Raw Story:

Texas Republican Rep. Joe Barton on Thursday insisted that EPA Director Scott Pruitt had been a “victim” of Democrats because of news reports which accuse Pruitt of corruption.

At a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on Thursday, Democrats repeatedly suggested that Pruitt should resign over the reports, but many of the Republicans praised the EPA director.

“You’re not the first person to be the victim of — for lack of a better term — Washington politics,” Barton told Pruitt. “You got picked to be the EPA administrator because of the service you provided for the great state of Oklahoma in fighting some of the Obama administration radical clean air policies.”


Barton went on to thank Pruitt for advising President Donald Trump to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord.

“If you can’t debate the policies in Washington, you attack the personality,” Barton said regarding the reports of Pruitt’s misconduct. “And that’s what’s happening to you. Republicans do it when it’s a Democratic president. The Democrats do it when it’s a Republican president. In my opinion, that’s what’s happening to you.”

In a series of quick questions, Barton dismissed many of Pruitt’s scandals, including allegations that he rented a condo from a lobbyist who has business with the EPA and Pruitt’s use of charter jets and flying first class.

I took a look at “Smokey Joe” in this profile several years ago.

But Barton wasn’t the only defender of 43,000 dollar soundproof phone booths.. Barton’s fellow Republicans joined in..

Mother Jones:

One of the reasons Scott Pruitt has probably survived this long at the Environmental Protection Agency is that he still has key Republican support in Congress. It was clear Thursday that House Republicans were still willing to defend him, when Pruitt appeared before the House Energy and Commerce and the House Appropriations subcommittees.

The hearings followed a pattern. Democrats grilled Pruitt on the ethical problems surrounding his administration—or spent their remaining time with monologues about his actions. Republicans were less interested in getting answers from Pruitt on what subcommittee chair Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) called his “stewardship” of the agency, and spent more time focusing on the “policy” they agreed with. Despite Pruitt’s innumerable and well-documented ethical violations and questionable spending patterns, many Republicans in the hearing used their time to offer support for the embattled EPA head.

“It’s shameful today that this hearing has turned into a personal attack hearing and a shameful attempt to denigrate the work that’s being done at the EPA,” Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio) said.

Rep. Gregg Harper, (R-Miss.) complained of the “political bloodsport to destroy anyone who is affiliated with this administration.”

Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) called Pruitt a “victim” of Washington politics. “If you can’t debate the policies in Washington, you attack the personality. And that’s what’s happening to you.”

“I apologize for the abrasiveness of some of my colleagues who would rather tarnish your reputation than address the problems facing the nation,” Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) said after a heated line of questioning from the other side of the aisle.

And as the Huffington Post pointed out, Rep. David McKinley called the criticism a “classic display of innuendo and McCarthyism.”

“I have, high, high, high confidence in his personal integrity,” Rep. Tom Cole (R-Ok), who comes from Pruitt’s home state, added in the second hearing of the day.


4 Responses to “Smokey Joe Sticks up for Pollutin’ Pruitt”

  1. dumboldguy Says:

    This is why the name “Repugnants” is a better choice than “Republicans” for today’s GOP. All the decent Republicans of the past must be spinning in their graves at high rpm’s.

    (And the term “low-IQ and ignorant asshole” must have been coined for Smokey Joe. What is wrong with TX and OK that they keep sending these people to Washington?

  2. J4Zonian Says:

    Sort of a combo of Gollum and a Kapo. What a sniveling sycophant on the wrong side of reality, morality and history.

    Of course Trumpitt has support in Congress, it–Pruitt and the rest of der Gropenführer’s wetland ecosytem–is diligently carrying out the wishes of the right wing–the corporate duopoly. While the 2 halves of the corporate party disagree on the speed at which we should rush toward fascism, they don’t disagree about going there.

  3. Karl Wirth Says:

    I prefer to refer to him as Toxic Scotty…

  4. Sir Charles Says:

    Business as usual. Setting the fox to mind the geese.

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