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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

City Council member Andre Dickens wins Atlanta mayoral race

Andre Dickens during a rally at Center Stage on November 28, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images)

City Council member Andre Dickens won a runoff election Tuesday to become Atlanta's next mayor, soundly beating the council's president Felicia Moore.

The big picture: Dickens was just a few months ago considered to have an outside chance of replacing Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who announced in May that she wouldn't seek a second term.

UN report: Pandemic set to cost global tourism $2 trillion in 2021

A tourist in front of the Eiffel Tower on November 25, 2021 in Paris. Photo:Chesnot/Getty Images

A new United Nations report warns that global tourism will see only modest revenue gains in 2021 after last year's historic losses amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why it matters: Tourism revenues in 2020 fell by more than half from the previous year — a significant blow to the global economy, according to analysis by the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

Updated 2 hours ago - Health

2 federal judges temporarily block Biden vaccine mandates

President Biden delivers remarks on the Omicron COVID-19 variant at the White House on Nov. 29. Photo: Anna Moneymaker via Getty Images

The Biden administration was temporarily blocked from enforcing COVID-19 vaccine mandates for millions of workers by federal judges in two states on Tuesday.

The big picture: The orders, by federal judges in Kentucky and Louisiana, come one day after a federal judge in Missouri halted the mandate, which has a Jan. 4 deadline, in 10 states.