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Scott Pruitt loses "war of attrition"

Trump looks at Pruitt with some side eye as Pruitt speaks at the White House
Scott Pruitt with President Trump at the White House. Photo: Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images

A senior administration official tells Axios that Environmental Protection Administration chief Scott Pruitt, who handed his resignation yesterday, "ultimately lost the war of attrition":

"If the people who've been covering for him start turning on him under oath, you know you've got a problem."

Behind the scenes:

  • "Privately, people would say [to Trump] that the media was just picking on Pruitt and it was fake news. But he wouldn't really bite like he normally would."
  • "Privately, Trump would say to them things like: 'I don't know if they're trying to pick on him — he's giving them a lot to work with.'"
  • "Put it this way: He never said the words 'witch hunt' to describe what was going on with Scott Pruitt."
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