The White House is reportedly upset that embattled Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt gave a 25-minute interview to Fox News and believes the EPA chief was not truthful during the televised discussion.
The interview came amid a swirl of controversy over Pruitt's deal to rent a Capitol Hill condominium linked to an energy lobbyist last year.
Senior administration officials say the White House told Pruitt to avoid TV appearances, but he disregarded the order and sat for an exclusive with Fox's Ed Henry — which quickly became combative — the Washington Post reported.
Also according to the Post, senior White House officials believe Pruitt was involved in orchestrating a pay raise for two of his close aides after the administration rejected a request to increase their salary.
@jdawsey1: White House told Pruitt to not do TV but he forged ahead, per senior officials. Fox interview seen as a disaster in building, and senior White House officials believe he was involved in staff raises, contrary to what he said.
The Atlantic reported on Tuesday that EPA used a loophole to push through the salary bump. Asked by Henry about the report, Pruitt said he and his staff found out about the salary increase on Tuesday and had reversed it.
On Thursday, President Donald Trump told reporters he still has confidence in Pruitt.
To be sure, Trump has previously expressed confidence in embattled administration officials, only to part ways with them soon after. The president is known to judge his deputies and potential hires based on their performance in television appearances.
The White House and the EPA did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment.