Aide: EPA’s Pruitt sought used Trump hotel mattress

WASHINGTON (AP) — Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt had a top aide seek a used mattress from the Trump International Hotel and perform other personal chores for him, including house-hunting and booking personal travel to a football game, according to testimony released Monday.

Millan Hupp’s transcribed interview last month before a panel of House Oversight and Government Reform Committee staffers marks the first public accounting from one of Pruitt’s closest aides on personal errands that she said the EPA chief had her do. The transcript was released Monday by committee Democrats.

Federal ethics rule prohibit supervisors from directing their subordinates to carry out personal errands.

Committee investigators asked Hupp about an Sept. 14 email, with the subject line “Inquiry on behalf of Administrator Scott Pruitt, to the managing director at the Trump hotel. She said she didn’t recall sending it, but under questioning discussed the context.

“The administrator had spoken with someone at the Trump Hotel, who had indicated there could be a mattress he could purchase, an old mattress he could purchase,” said Hupp, the EPA administrator’s director of scheduling.

“It was around the same time that he was moving,” she added.

Patricia Tang, the marketing director for the Trump International, denied that Pruitt was ever offered a used mattress.

“No, that did not happen,” Tang told The Associated Press. “We do not, and have not, ever sold used mattresses.”

Tang said the hotel’s managing director, Mickael Damelincourt, responded to Hupp by email, telling her that no deals for used mattresses were available. Tang declined to provide a copy of that email.

The Trump Organization does offer customers the opportunity to purchase new versions of the Stearns & Foster model used in its hotels under its Trump Home brand.

Tang’s account did not square with Hupp’s closed-door congressional testimony.

“I do not recall ever connecting with someone on this topic, and I do not recall whatever came of the inquiry into the mattress,” Hupp testified.

President Donald Trump has stood behind his embattled EPA chief, but this was the first time an ethical question surrounding Pruitt has touched on part of the president’s business empire.

Asked Monday about the mattress matter, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said they are looking into it. “I couldn’t comment on the specifics of the furniture used in his apartment,” she said.

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