WASHINGTON — Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt laughed off questions Wednesday about whether he used his office to try to help his wife get a “business opportunity” with Chick-fil-A, while a close aide abruptly resigned amid new ethics allegations against her boss.

Pruitt said in a statement that his scheduling director, Millan Hupp, 26, had resigned. It came two days after Democratic lawmakers made public her testimony to a House oversight panel that Pruitt had her do personal errands for him, including inquiring about buying a used mattress from the Trump International Hotel.

Last year, Pruitt also directed Hupp’s younger sister to reach out to a senior executive at Chick-fil-A to inquire about a “business opportunity.” At the time, Sydney Hupp, 25, was also working in Pruitt’s office as an EPA scheduler.

That business opportunity turned out to be Pruitt’s desire to acquire a fast-food franchise for his wife.

Federal ethics codes prohibit having staffers conduct personal errands and bar officials from using their position for private gain.

On Wednesday, Pruitt laughed when a reporter asked about the reports he had tried to use his government position to financially benefit his spouse.

“I mean, look, my wife is an entrepreneur herself. I love, she loves, we love Chick-fil-A as a franchise of faith,” Pruitt told a reporter for Nexstar Media Group, which owns local television stations around the country. A Republican former Oklahoma attorney general, Pruitt added that there needs to be more locations of the fast-food chain in his hometown of Tulsa.

Founded in Atlanta, the Chick-fil-A chain is known for incorporating Christianity into its business code, including shutting down nationwide on Sundays. The two-generation family business has angered some customers and pleased others with its donations to conservative causes, including funding campaigns fighting same-sex marriage.

Democrats quickly pounced on Pruitt’s statement, accusing him of using religion to try to deflect from his misdeeds.

“He’s hiding behind a very cheap version of faith, in the form of chicken,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly of Virginia, the ranking Democrat on a House subcommittee on Government Operations. “