The senator praised Wheeler previous year when he was nominated to the EPA deputy administrator post, saying, "there is no one more qualified than Andrew to help Scott Pruitt restore EPA to its proper size and scope". He also demanded 24-hour-a-day protection from armed officers, resulting in a swollen 20-member security detail that blew through overtime budgets and racked up expenses of more than $3 million. He even told them to contact conservative groups and companies to find a lucrative job for his unemployed wife, including as a Chick-fil-A franchisee.
Soon after, Trump announced in a two-part tweet that he had accepted Pruitt's resignation.
The mounting allegations have drawn bipartisan disapproval, with Republicans and Democrats voicing their concerns.
"He'll just be quietly working to implement the regulatory reforms that Pruitt started", said Holmstead.
And at an April hearing of his committee, Pallone called the administrator "unfit to hold public office and undeserving of the public trust". Frank Pallone, D-NJ, told him. "Much of what has been targeted at me or my team has been half-truths or stories that have been so twisted they do not resemble reality". James Inhofe of Oklahoma.
"If you filter out all of the personal scandals, he's not doing a bad job in the eyes of this administration".
Those issues became an avalanche in recent weeks as scrutiny mounted over his first-class flights, top aides getting huge pay raises after the White House rejected them, and the cozy rental arrangement he had with a lobbyist who is also a personal friend. He also once commented that he disagreed with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's finding that carbon dioxide emissions could negatively impact human health, and accused the group of scientists of functioning more like a political body.
As Oklahoma attorney general, Pruitt sued the agency he eventually came to lead for its efforts to regulate pollution. "The Trump EPA continues to undo critical health protections that safeguard our communities from unsafe chemicals and ensure Americans have safe drinking water and clean air". In the Sooner State, he also fought against the Affordable Care Act, abortion rights and gay marriage.
"We have no illusion both about how far Scott Pruitt is from the kind of administrator that we need and also how risky Andrew Wheeler would be", Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, told TIME before Pruitt's resignation.
A Kentucky native, he attended the University of Tulsa law school.
Pelosi, a staunch environmentalist, suggested Wheeler will prove more effective than Pruitt when it comes to deregulating environmental safeguards - a dynamic she says will only heighten the threat to clean air, clean water and other public safety concerns governed by the EPA.