If You Could Say Anything to Scott Pruitt’s Face What Would It Be? This Woman Got Her Chance.

Holding her toddler, a schoolteacher told him to resign before “your scandals push you out.”

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Kristin Mink, a sixth-grade teacher at Sidwell Friends School, was eating lunch with her 2-year-old son at a restaurant in Washington, DC, when she noticed Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt sitting three tables away. 

“He’s corrupt, he’s a liar, he’s a climate change denier, and as a public servant, he should not be able to go out in public without hearing from the citizens he’s hurting,” she wrote in a Facebook post shortly after deciding to confront him. In a video that has since gone viral, Mink told Pruitt “to resign before your scandals push you out.” 

Pruitt, the subject of at least 13 inquiries into his conduct as head of the nation’s top environmental regulatory agency, has rolled back Obama-era directives that would have restricted methane emissions and set more aggressive fuel efficiency standards. He was the leading voice pushing for the US to leave the Paris climate accord and has repeatedly questioned the realities of climate change. Republican and Democratic lawmakers have sharply criticized Pruitt, but President Trump has stuck by an appointee whose scandals have dwarfed the controversies that have felled other administration officials. On June 8, Trump told reporters in a press conference that the former Oklahoma attorney general is “doing a great job.”

Restaurants have become an uncomfortable flashpoint recently in an ongoing national debate over civility and activism. Trump adviser Stephen Miller and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen were both heckled by protesters furious with the administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy at the US border, which included separating children from their families. “If kids don’t eat in peace, you don’t eat in peace,” one protester told Nielsen while she finished up her dinner at a Mexican restaurant on June 19.  

Three days later, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked to leave a small eatery in Lexington, Virginia, after the owner, Stephanie Wilkinson, said she could not condone the actions of the “inhumane and unethical” administration Sanders represented. The press secretary later tweeted about the encounter, prompting Trump to describe the restaurant as “dirty on the outside” and “dirty on the inside.”

Mink’s encounter with Pruitt generated no such fireworks. She said on Facebook that he remained completely silent and, before she even sat down, left the restaurant escorted by a male companion and two bodyguards. 

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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