Matthews: Pruitt Is ‘Creating These Nests of Trouble for Himself’ by Opposing EPA Lefties

Based on the logic of MSNBC’s Hardball host Chris Matthews on Tuesday night, President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Oklahoma conservative Scott Pruitt will have himself to blame for “creating these nests of trouble” within the EPA and among its allies in the media even though Matthews conceded they are dead set on “mak[ing] life very unpleasant” for him.

“All the constituency groups and all the journalists who cover the constituency groups and cover that department and its purposes will be out to make life very unpleasant for Mr. Scott Pruitt. So, he’s creating these nests of trouble for himself...it’s very hard to put somebody in there who’s anti-environmental in the Environmental Protection Agency,” Matthews whined to Time’s Jay Newton-Small.

The segment began with Matthews joining his media cohorts in mocking Rick Perry’s infamous inability to remember the Department of Energy in a 2012 presidential debate before leveling a larger complaint against the appointments of people opposed to the expansion of the departments they’ll lead (if confirmed by the Senate):

Perry now joins a growing list of appointees who have expressed beliefs that are at odds with the purpose...of the departments they’re out to lead. Scott Pruitt, for example, Trump’s choice for EPA, is a global warming skeptic and has called the EPA a Byzantine regulatory regime. Trump’s pick for secretary of labor, Andrew Puzder, has argued against raising the minimum wage and has championed replacing human labor with machines...Betsy DeVos, who’s set to lead the Department of Education, has fought to deliver tax money to private and parochial schools through vouchers, rather than the public schools and Trump’s pick for Health and Human Services, Congressman Tom Price, has made repeated attempts to replace ObamaCare. 

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Newton-Small replied that Trump’s cabinet picks will likely be engaging in “a bit of a sabotage from within” and hopefully have more success than Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.

With Newton-Small being “a journalist,” Matthews pointed out to her that most journalists whose beat includes the EPA “are kind of into environmentalism and climate issues” so therefore, they’re inclined to rubber stamp the EPA and write favorable stories on behalf of the agency and environmental activists (so what the liberal media already sets out to do).

Previewing what the EPA will look like in 2017, Matthews surmised that Pruitt will run into trouble of his own making by opposing the left’s (bloated) agenda:

So they’re going to write for the next year about what’s going on at the EPA and the constituents of the EPA are environmental groups, wildlife, all kinds of groups, Sierra. They’re all there. So, all the constituency groups and all the journalists who cover the constituency groups and cover that department and its purposes will be out to make life very unpleasant for Mr. Scott Pruitt. So, he’s creating these nests of trouble for himself, it seems to me. You can argue about vouchers, but it’s very hard to put somebody in there who’s anti-environmental in the Environmental Protection Agency, or anti-labor, who wants to have machines and robots.

The relevant portion of the transcript from MSNBC’s Hardball on December 13 can be found below.

MSNBC’s Hardball
December 13, 2016
7:37 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Well, Perry now joins a growing list of appointees who have expressed beliefs that are at odds with the purpose, you would think, of the departments they’re out to lead. Scott Pruitt, for example, Trump’s choice for EPA, is a global warming skeptic and has called the EPA a Byzantine regulatory regime. Trump’s pick for secretary of labor, Andrew Puzder, has argued against raising the minimum wage and has championed replacing human labor with machines, not exactly the idea of labor as we know it. Betsy DeVos, who’s set to lead the Department of Education, has fought to deliver tax money to private and parochial schools through vouchers, rather than the public schools and Trump’s pick for Health and Human Services, Congressman Tom Price, has made repeated attempts to replace ObamaCare. Anyway, I’m joined right now by Jay Newton-Small, contributor to Time magazine. Jay Newton, it’s been called the anti-government, because it’s all there, but talk about Rick Perry. He’s known, unfortunately, for wearing nice blazers and looking good, but he does have this problem with oops.

JAY NEWTON-SMALL: Oops.

MATTHEWS: And now the department he wanted to get rid of, which is far more important, he’s now being asked to lead. Why would he want to lead a department? I mean, I remember Reagan named somebody, Bill Bennett, to run Education. But what’s the point?

NEWTON-SMALL: Well, I think it’s a bit of a sabotage from within, right? That’s exactly what Reagan did, is, he couldn’t get rid of these departments. Every president in modern history has promised to get rid of departments of government and none of them have actually succeeded, because it’s such a massive mass of bureaucracy. It’s so difficult to change Washington, change the federal government, that, in fact, the only President who’s managed to change the federal government’s footprint was George W. Bush. After 9/11, he added an agency to the government, right?

MATTHEWS: Yes.

NEWTON-SMALL: And so — and so what Reagan did is, since he couldn’t get rid of them, he kind of put in people who changed the culture from within.

MATTHEWS: Okay, here’s the problem. You’re a journalist. You know this story. If you pick somebody to run the EPA, then all the reporters who are the beat reporters for EPA are kind of into environmentalism and climate issues. That’s why they chose that beat, if they could choose it. So they’re going to write for the next year about what’s going on at the EPA and the constituents of the EPA are environmental groups, wildlife, all kinds of groups, Sierra. They’re all there. So, all the constituency groups and all the journalists who cover the constituency groups and cover that department and its purposes will be out to make life very unpleasant for Mr. Scott Pruitt. So, he’s creating these nests of trouble for himself, it seems to me. You can argue about vouchers, but it’s very hard to put somebody in there who’s anti-environmental in the Environmental Protection Agency, or anti-labor, who wants to have machines and robots.

NEWTON-SMALL: But all of these things they do, I mean, there’s only so much you can do, right? So, when you do rule-making in any of these agencies, there’s a whole sort of very staid process, where you have to introduce the rule, you have to have public hearings and you have to have more public hearings. And then, once the rule is passed, you can sue it, right? So, you can — you can bet there’s a ton of environmental lawyers.

MATTHEWS: You have to put it in the federal digest for X-many weeks and all that stuff, yes.

NEWTON-SMALL: Yes, exactly. You have to publish it and so then you can bet there’s a ton of people who are going to — you’re going to see Pruitt — Sierra Club vs. Pruitt. Like, all of these groups are just going to sue over every single thing they try to change. And it’s just going to be total litigation.

MATTHEWS: You’re right. That’s what is going on. Let’s get ready. We’re giving them a great forecast of things to come.

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