Trump reassures embattled EPA leader Pruitt in Monday night call

WASHINGTON, April 3 (Reuters) - President Donald Trump called embattled U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt on Monday night with a reassuring message, an administration official said on Tuesday. "Scott, keep your head up. Keep fighting. We've got your back," Trump told Pruitt, according to the official.

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly phoned Pruitt on Tuesday morning to reinforce the message, the official said.

A White House official, asked for comment, would only say that the two phone calls had taken place and gave no details.

Lawmakers on Sunday predicted in TV interviews that Pruitt might not survive long in his job after reports that he paid a below-market rate to live in a condo owned by a lobbyist who deals with issues overseen by the EPA.

Pruitt has already faced public criticism for his frequent use of first-class flights, which is under investigation by the EPA inspector general, and for installing a $43,000 secure phone booth to conduct confidential calls.

Trump has been retooling his Cabinet, ousting David Shulkin last week as secretary of the Veterans Administration and Rex Tillerson last month as secretary of state. (Reporting By Steve Holland; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jonathan Oatis)

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