Guess who’s back!!!!
Disgraced former EPA Chief Scott Pruitt released an official campaign ad for his bid for U.S. Senate on Thursday, his first official foray into a crowded race to replace climate-denier extraordinaire James Inhofe in their home state of Oklahoma. Titled, quite literally, “I’m Back,” the video is a doozy.
In the ad, Pruitt begins by quoting Winston Churchill, as every right-wing college debate goober is taught to do. “‘You’ve got enemies? Good! It means that you stood up for something,’” Scott says, holding a newspaper. “As a member of President Trump’s cabinet, I had enemies.”
Unfortunately for Scott, Winston Churchill never actually said that; the mistakenly attributed quote seems to have made the rounds on Facebook in recent years. Not super surprising, for a guy who seems to have gotten all his climate knowledge from a bad Facebook post, to make that mistake. But we get the message: He has enemies.
Given how scores of Republican operatives and officials have come out of the woodwork in recent months to talk about how much they think Scott Pruitt absolutely sucks, one could be forgiven for thinking that the GOP at large is who he’s talking about here. (Among Pruitt’s haters is, sadly for Scott, Inhofe himself, who told reporters in March he was “not his biggest fan.”)
But no! Scott is aiming to show you in this ad that it’s the liberal media who are against him. “The New York Times. The Washington Post—they tried to cancel me. But guess what? I’m back,” he declares, as he dramatically tosses the newspaper he’s holding into the trash can. (He probably should have recycled that newspaper, but given his track record of almost single-handedly obliterating the environment during his short tenure at EPA, is it a surprise that he didn’t?)
The video goes on to explain how Biden is “undoing the progress we made during the Trump administration,” as Scott pitches himself for Senate on what seems like a pretty rote right-wing platform, including promises to “protect the unborn,” “restore energy independence,” and “protect free speech.”
All in all, it’s pretty bland as far as campaign ads go. (Pro tip: If you’re running as a Republican, you need to shoot something and make vague death threats.) With Pruitt’s scandal-ridden history and seemingly abysmal support from his own party in a crowded race, it’s perhaps not surprising that he kind of…glosses over what actually happened during the year and change he was in Washington. Anyone making an attack ad against him, on the other hand, will have a lot of material to work with, like his weird obsession with obtaining a used mattress from Trump’s hotel, or his spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on round-the-clock security detail, or his decision to build a soundproof room in an office that already had one, or maybe even that time he used government resources to get his wife a Chick-fil-A franchise. Pruitt maybe should have clarified that when he says the Times and Post “canceled” him, he means they published exposes about how he made his security detail drive around looking for a special lotion for him from the Ritz-Carlton—all on taxpayer dollars, of course.
The ad is interspersed with old footage of Pruitt with Trump, so it’s clear that his campaign will be leaning hard on that association. Unfortunately for him, an actual endorsement from the Big Wet Former President doesn’t seem guaranteed. E&E News reported last month that Pruitt, thirsty for that sweet, sweet Trump approval, put in a call to him in March as he explored the possibility of running for Senate. Trump’s response apparently left something to be desired: a former administration official said the President gave Pruitt a “brushoff.”
Update 5/13/22 9:43 A.M. EST: This post has been updated to clarify that the quote Pruitt uses in the ad is misattributed to Winston Churchill.