Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt. Photo: Pete Marovich / Getty Images

Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt blamed security decisions for the reason why he has been taking numerous first-class flights or military jets at the expense of taxpayers.

Why it matters: A handful of Trump administration officials including Pruitt have been under intense scrutiny for flying charter, military or private jets paid for by taxpayers. The Washington Post reported on Sunday that Pruitt and his top aides' taxpayer-funded travel cost at least $90,000 during a two-week stretch in June of last year. In one case, he spent $1,641.43 for a first-class seat flight from Washington, D.C. to New York City, The Post reports.

What he's saying: Pruitt told the New Hampshire Union Leader that "some incidents," since he started his post, have forced his security team to fly him first class.

  • “We live in a very toxic environment politically, particularly around issues of the environment,” he said. “We've reached the point where there's not much civility in the marketplace and it's created, you know, it's created some issues and the (security) detail, the level of protection is determined by the level of threat."

CBS News’ Julianna Goldman reports that Pruitt flew business class from Milan, Italy in June, which cost $43,000 in total. He also received a certificate allowing him to fly on a non-U.S. carrier en route to D.C. in time for a Cabinet meeting with President Trump on June 12, according to Goldman.

Go deeper: The Trump officials caught splurging on luxury travel

Go deeper

Scoop: Trump to meet with Supreme Court candidate Barbara Lagoa on Friday

Lagoa and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

President Trump plans to meet with shortlisted Supreme Court candidate Barbara Lagoa during a campaign visit to Florida on Friday, according to two sources familiar with his plans.

What we're hearing: Sources who know both Trump and Lagoa say they still expect the president to pick Judge Amy Coney Barrett, but they view the Lagoa meeting as a wild card because they say she has a charismatic personality that would appeal to Trump.

Updated 38 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11:45 a.m. ET: 31,374,796 — Total deaths: 965,742— Total recoveries: 21,531,728Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 a.m. ET: 6,860,484 — Total deaths: 200,005 — Total recoveries: 2,615,9474 — Total tests: 95,841,281Map.
  3. Health: The U.S. reaches 200,000 coronavirus deaths. The CDC's crumbling reputation — America turns against coronavirus vaccine.
  4. Politics: Elected officials are failing us on much-needed stimulus.
  5. Business: Two-thirds of business leaders think pandemic will lead to permanent changes — Wall Street fears stimulus is doomed.
  6. Sports: NFL fines maskless coaches.
44 mins ago - Health

U.S. reaches 200,000 coronavirus deaths

Expand chart
Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Chart: Axios Visuals

The coronavirus has now killed 200,000 Americans, according to Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: Whatever context you try to put this in, it is a catastrophe of historic proportions — and is yet another reminder of America's horrific failure to contain the virus.

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