- The Washington Times - Monday, June 18, 2018

The long knives (and brass knuckles) are clearly out for EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. We wrote weeks ago about the organized Left’s attacks on President Trump’s most effective and influential cabinet secretary. His efforts in rolling back job-killing regulations have been a prime force in driving the Trump economy and the media and Democrats can’t stand it. 

Through all of the attacks, smears and innuendos Pruitt has persevered and not gone shrinking into the night. In the rough and tumble world of the DC Swamp, Pruitt isn’t playing by the regular rules. When hit pieces are published with half-truths and innuendo dressed up as “scandals” that aren’t really scandals at all, the “where there’s smoke there’s fire” attitude dictates that the target of the slime must acquiesce and resign. That’s just what’s expected. 

But Pruitt won’t go. He has work to do and he’s going to do it. So now, they’re going after his family. 

Last week the New York Times published the latest charge against Pruitt. They claim Pruitt forces employees at the EPA to do personal favors for the administrator and his family. 

The most volatile and damning allegation was that Pruitt used his position as Trump’s man at EPA to twist arms at the University of Virginia Law School to get his daughter admitted. The implication is clear. That Pruitt’s daughter was admitted despite her lack of qualifications and only because her daddy is well placed in the Trump Administration. 

Except, the story wasn’t true. 

In a massive correction, The Times explains that not only did the recommendation for Pruitt’s daughter (a thing that pretty much every student acquires when applying for a prestigious school like UVA Law) was obtained not only before Pruitt was EPA Administrator, it happened before the presidential election of 2016. 

Correction: June 16, 2018:mAn earlier version of this article included an item that erroneously described Scott Pruitt’s use of his position at the Environmental Protection Agency for personal matters. While a Virginia lawmaker, William Howell, said he wrote a letter of recommendation to the University of Virginia Law School on behalf of Mr. Pruitt’s daughter, McKenna, he actually wrote it while Mr. Pruitt was the attorney general of Oklahoma. After publication of the article, additional research by a legislative aide, Mr. Howell said, showed he had incorrectly stated the date of the letter, which he said was actually written on Nov. 1, 2016, more than three months before Mr. Pruitt was confirmed as E.P.A. administrator, in February 2017. The law school, which had declined to comment for the article because of privacy concerns, issued a statement on Saturday saying Ms. Pruitt had given the school permission to confirm that she had been offered early admission in late November 2016 and that the “application was evaluated according to our usual admissions procedures.” The material about Ms. Pruitt’s application has been removed from the article.

In other words, Pruitt got a letter of recommendation for his daughter back when the New York Times assured the world that Hillary Clinton was going to be President of the United States. Not only does this allegation have nothing to do with the EPA, the federal government, President Trump or the Trump Administration… but it has nothing to do with anything. 

A father asks a colleague for a letter of recommendation for their daughter? And this is a scandal;? Will the New York Times hold their staff up to this standard? Is every employee of that august organization suspect if they got a letter of recommendation through a family member? We’d be looking at a pretty empty newsroom, not to mention the executive suite. 

Remember when Malia Obama interned with Harvey Weinstein one summer? I’m sure she was the most qualified for that coveted (if not dangerous) gig. Surely there was no undo influence wielded in that little leg-up, right? 

But when a story like this is published, it catches fire. The Hill published the most despicable “take” on this non-story that has been retracted: “Pruitt enlisted aides to help daughter get into law school, gain internship: report.” their headline screamed. 

The Hill then dutifully copied and pasted the facts from the NY Times piece (which have now been removed) and flowered up their own descriptions of the episode. Now, they’ve had to amend their story as well. 

But, in all of this, the victim is not Scott Pruitt. He’s a public figure and he signed up for the heat that was sure to come with the job of dissenting from the environmental dogma of the Obama regime. 

But dragging the man’s daughter and her reputation into the bull ring is a step too far even for the DC Swamp. McKenna Pruitt is not a public figure. She did not deserve to have her credentials impugned. She did not deserve to have to read in the New York Times that she wouldn’t have achieved anything if not for Daddy’s strong-arm tactics wielding the power of the EPA to get her carte blanche treatment at UVA. 

She didn’t deserve any of that because none of it is true. 

The Times and The Hill and the various outlets that picked up the story and ran because they love the idea of the “pile on” effect to force a man out of work so much they’re fine with impugning an innocent family member to achieve their ends owe more than a correction and a retraction. They owe Ms. Pruitt an apology. 

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