Scott Pruitt resigns as chief of United States Environmental Protection Agency

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Pruitt, who has been widely praised by conservatives for his deregulatory agenda, attributed his departure to "unrelenting attacks" against him and his family.

Scott Pruitt, the embattled head of the Environmental Protection Agency, has resigned, President Trump tweeted Thursday.

"Within the Agency Scott has done an outstanding job, and I will always be thankful to him for this", added Trump, who gave no reason for Pruitt's departure.

Trump reportedly enjoyed Pruitt's presence too, and tried to ignore the constant barrage of news reports on his EPA chief's scandals, which ranged from excessive spending on flights to scrubbing his official calendar to hide controversial meetings.

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"We have in Andrew Wheeler someone who has made a career out of trying to block everything we've done to try to protect our children from the growing dangers of climate change - a person who has made a career out of trying to push back against common sense safeguards to protect the air we breathe from unsafe chemicals like mercury, arsenic and others", says Bob Deans of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Samantha Dravis, who recently resigned as Pruitt's policy chief, told investigators last week that Pruitt had made clear to her before and after he became EPA administrator that he would like the attorney general's job, held then and now by Jeff Sessions. Pruitt's sense of entitlement and disregard for ethics didn't set him apart from everyone else in the administration, but unlike former HHS Secretary Tom Price or current Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, running the EPA was Pruitt's first taste of real power.

With a past life as an energy industry lobbyist, Wheeler is not an environmentalist, to say the least.

Yet every action related to climate change that Pruitt's EPA initiated appeared premised on the pretense that it doesn't exist.

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"It was, in a sense, fascinating to observe just how much Pruitt could get away with as long as he flattered Trump and repeatedly kneecapped the agency he was appointed to oversee, currying favor with energy industry lobbyists while treating public funds, and in some cases his own aides" wallets, as the underwriter of his newly appointed Roman emperor lifestyle.

"One down", tweeted House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California), "dozens more to go until we've drained the swamp of the Trump Admin's toxic culture and corruption".

"There's definitely that fear" of a shake-up among Pruitt's remaining political appointees, said Kevin Chmielewski, the former deputy chief of staff who fell out of favor with Pruitt after questioning spending. That included the roughly 20 members of a security detail Pruitt's EPA had created to guard him around the clock. "I believe you are serving as President today because of God's providence", Pruitt wrote in his resignation letter. Speaking at a recent energy policy forum in Washington, Ernst accused Pruitt of lying to her and other senators previous year when he pledged to uphold the Renewable Fuel Standards for ethanol. "As we have proven again and again, when the EPA threatens New Yorkers' health and environment, we will take the agency to court - and we will win".

The duration of Wheeler's tenure at the EPA is uncertain. "We've gotten rid of record breaking regulations and it's been really".

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After the Trump administration announced Wheeler's nomination to the agency in April, Inhofe hailed Wheeler as a "close friend". "Our understanding is that Mr. Wheeler will not be involved in any decision on this Energy Fuels proposal".