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Image: Pete Marovich / Getty Images

In a 2016 radio interview with The Pat Campbell Show, former Oklahoma attorney general and current EPA administrator Scott Pruitt said Donald Trump would “take, I think, unapologetic steps to use executive power to confront Congress in a way that is truly unconstitutional,” according to the watchdog group Documented.

Why it matters: Pruitt joins a long list of conservative politicians who criticized candidate Trump during the campaign, but went on to pledge their loyal support to the president following his election.

“I believe that Donald Trump in the White House will be more abusive to the constitution than Barack Obama and that’s saying a lot.”
"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."
"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."

Thought bubble from Axios' Jonathan Swan: If Trump had known about this interview there’s a zero point zero percent chance Pruitt would be EPA Administrator.

At a Senate hearing Tuesday, Pruitt responded to the interview, saying he doesn't remember saying those things. "I don’t echo that today at all," Pruitt said in response to questions by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat from Rhode Island.

Pruitt issued the following comment as an official response Tuesday:

“After meeting him, and now having the honor of working for him, it is abundantly clear that President Trump is the most consequential leader of our time.  No one has done more to advance the rule of law than President Trump. The President has liberated our country from the political class and given America back to the people.”

Editor's Note: This article has been updated to include Pruitt's responses on Tuesday.

Go deeper

California wildfire explodes in size, destroys historic town

Battalion Chief Sergio Mora looks on as the Dixie fire burns through downtown Greenville, Calif. on Aug. 4, 2021. Photo: Josh EdelsonAFP via Getty Images

The small Sierra town of Greenville, California, was heavily damaged on Wednesday night into early Thursday as the Dixie Fire surged northward amid high winds, extremely dry air and hot temperatures.

The latest: The Dixie Fire, California's biggest blaze, continued to threaten communities in Plumas County into Thursday night, as more mandatory evacuation orders were issued in the region.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Top labor leader Richard Trumka dies unexpectedly at 72

Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka, who led the largest federation of unions in the country for over a decade, has died at 72.

The big picture: Trumka began working as a coal miner in 1968 and would go on to dedicate his life to the labor movement, including as president of the 12.5 million-member AFL-CIO beginning in 2009.

Biden signs bill awarding Congressional Gold Medals to officers who responded to Jan. 6 attack

President Biden, joined by Vice President Harris, lawmakers and members of law enforcement and their families, signs legislation to award Congressional Gold Medals to law enforcement in the Rose Garden. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Biden signed legislation awarding Congressional Gold Medals to the law enforcement officers who defended the Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Why it matters: The Congressional Gold Medal is Congress' "highest expression of national appreciation," notes the New York Times.