Tom Price, President Donald Trump’s secretary of Health and Human Services, resigned from his post today after it was revealed that he had repeatedly chartered private planes for government travel.
A senior-level source with direct knowledge of the situation told ABC News that Trump asked Price for his resignation.
In a letter to Trump, Price wrote that he regretted that “recent events have created a distraction” from the administration’s objectives, and that he was resigning in order for the president “to move forward without further disruption.”
“Secretary of Health and Human Services Thomas Price offered his resignation earlier today and the president accepted,” read a statement from White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, adding that Trump intends to designate Don Wright, the current deputy assistant secretary for health and director of the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion as acting secretary.
The revelation about Price’s trips drew widespread criticism from Democrats and an investigation was launched last week by the HHS Office of Inspector General. Price took as many as 26 private flights and flew on military planes on trips to Europe and Africa at an estimated cost to taxpayers of over $1 million, according to Politico.
Earlier in the day, Trump teased a decision on Price’s status to reporters, saying would decide by the end of the day whether he might fire the secretary. He repeated that he was “not happy” about the secretary’s travel, a position he first shared Wednesday.
On Thursday, Price expressed regret over his trips and pledged to reimburse the government for his portion of the cost of the chartered jets. A HHS spokesperson declined to comment in the wake of the resignation on whether the former secretary still intended to follow through on the promise.
A source with knowledge of Price’s intentions earlier said that he would pay $51,887.31 for the flights, just a fraction of the over $400,000 that the chartered flights were said to have cost. Military flights to Africa, Asia and Europe, on which Price was joined by his wife, pushed the total over the $1 million figure, according to Politico.
The resignation comes three days after Senate Republicans announced they would not hold a vote this week on the party’s latest attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, the Graham-Cassidy bill. Price played an integral role in promoting the administration’s thus far unsuccessful efforts to roll back the Democratic health care legislation passed under the Obama administration.
EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Is our Sec. of Health & Human Services supposed to stand in line at the nearest airport to get to a national or international meeting? Not to mention security concerns, and run the risk of having his flight cancelled?
Why don’t we talk about the $85 million that Obama spent for family vacations at taxpayers exspense? Yes, with this story of resignation, the Left has won again.
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