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Trump's cabinet loves living large

Eugene Robinson on

That was obviously a deal-breaker for Pruitt, who travels about the country and even his headquarters building with Beyonce-level security. Unlike any previous EPA administrator, Pruitt demands around-the-clock protection by agency enforcement agents -- requiring triple the manpower his predecessors needed. Pruitt also is spending nearly $25,000 to construct a secure, soundproof communications booth in his office. But my point here isn't about paranoia. It's about imagined grandeur.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin inquired about using a $25,000-an-hour military plane for his European honeymoon last month. That didn't work out, but he did take a government plane on a trip to Fort Knox that seemed suspiciously timed to view the recent solar eclipse.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has acknowledged using private jets. But she's a billionaire and pays the cost herself, as did billionaire Penny Pritzker when she was commerce secretary in the Obama administration.

For the wannabes, however, all this grasping is not just wasteful but unseemly. Most of the Cabinet officials I've known over the years saw their jobs as a sacred trust. They felt deeply responsible toward the American people and the dedicated personnel in their agencies.

For Price, Pruitt and Mnuchin, apparently, it's more about living large.

 

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Eugene Robinson's email address is eugenerobinson@washpost.com.

(c) 2017, Washington Post Writers Group

 

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