President Donald Trump’s Health and Human Services secretary resigned Friday after coming under scrutiny for his repeated use of private charter planes for government business.
An investigation revealed that Tom Price had chartered private flights and flew on military aircraft to Europe, Asia and Africa more than two dozen times to the tune of $1 million in taxpayer money — $400,000 of which came from the private flights.
“Secretary of Health and Human Services Thomas Price offered his resignation earlier today and the president accepted,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement on Friday.
Official Press Release for Tom Price resignation as Director of Health and Human Services pic.twitter.com/lX0gkZaZ32
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The full letter is included below.
Tom Price resignation letter: pic.twitter.com/EWBb5kg7Yh
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After mounting pressure, Price said he would repay the government for his chartered flights — much more expensive than commercial flights — but he will only be paying a small amount — $51,000 — of the total cost.
As a lawmaker, Price was highly critical of wasteful spending and used financial figures in his attacks on Obamacare.
Yet, Politico reports that in one four-day stretch in September, Price took flights that cost around $60,000 altogether. A charter flight between Washington and Tennessee that cost more than $17,000 ferried Price to and from a six-hour visit that included lunch with his son. The investigation into Price was prompted by Democratic lawmakers, Republican lawmakers like Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, and the Health and Human Services Inspector General.
“All of my political career I’ve fought for the taxpayers. It is clear to me that in this case, I was not sensitive enough to my concern for the taxpayer,” Price said ahead of his resignation.
Price is the first of Trump’s Cabinet secretaries to resign their post, though his departure is just the latest in a long line of senior officials and public faces of the administration. At least 13 department heads, spokespeople and senior staff have now been ousted from the Trump administration.
People ousted from the Trump administration (so far):
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