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In this luxury-obsessed, grooming-conscious administration, it should come as no surprise that Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt would ask his 24-hour security detail — which cost taxpayers $3.5 million in his first year on the job — to help him hunt down a favorite moisturizer that’s sold at the Ritz-Carlton. And yet the novelty is intriguing!
According to a Washington Post report published on Thursday afternoon, Pruitt has used his security staff to pick up his dry cleaning, search for a used mattress from the Trump International Hotel in Washington, and, indeed, help find his favorite lotion:
While EPA security agents are required to protect Pruitt at all times — while he is working and during his off hours — the two individuals said the administrator had asked members of the detail to perform tasks that go beyond their primary function. In one instance, they said, he directed agents to drive him to multiple locations in search of a particular lotion on offer at Ritz-Carlton hotels.
The Ritz-Carlton does sell a ylang ylang and bergamot-scented “moisturizer” online, currently marked down from $32 to $27.20. If this is indeed the lotion Pruitt loves so much, he could have just bought it online, as Vox reporter Matt Yglesias pointed out on Twitter.
It should be noted that there’s nothing wrong with dudes buying and using scented lotions. Dry skin is the worst and should be dealt with speedily. However, there is something questionable about using the 24/7 security detail you requested and received as a government official to run your errands.
Pruitt has no doubt stayed at a lot of hotels in his life, and perhaps he has visited a lot of mattress stores and tested a lot of lotion samples. So maybe his desire to acquire that mattress and that moisturizer represents nothing more than the end of a long, long consumer journey to the ultimate in bedding and skin care.
But the act of incorporating a hotel’s mattress or moisturizer into one’s everyday life also suggests a certain predilection for convenience, for taking someone else’s curation and making it one’s own. It suggests a void in personal taste, which is perfectly fine but also a real choice from someone using their 24/7 government security team to run errands.
Why this lotion? One day, we hope to know.