The Trump administration's head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, has postponed his upcoming visit to Israel, amid public criticism of his unusual travel expenses in recent months. Pruitt was expected to arrive in Israel this week, but an EPA spokesperson told the Washington Post that the agency decided to postpone the visit, and that Pruitt is "looking forward" to visiting Israel in the future.
Pruitt has recently been harshly criticized for flying first class on taxpayer money, however the EPA said that Pruitt's travel expenses were necessary and approved for by ethics lawyers.
Pruitt is said to have taken at least four noncommercial and military flights since mid-February, costing taxpayers more than $58,000, the Washington Post reported.
In June, Pruitt took the most expensive of the four trips when he traveled from Andrews Air Force Base to Cincinnati to join U.S. President Donald Trump, the paper reported, citing records obtained from a congressional oversight committee.
“When the administrator travels, he takes commercial flights,” EPA spokeswoman Liz Bowman told the Washington Post on Wednesday.
The administrator and the cabinet secretary are the face of the agency, and have an obligation to get out throughout the country, the paper quoted Bowman as saying.
Pruitt’s frequent travels to Oklahoma are already being investigated by EPA’s inspector general.
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