Tom Price, the US secretary of health and human services, resigned late Friday afternoon (Sept. 29) in Washington, D.C., after reports that he took flights on military jets and private planes that cost taxpayers more than $1 million.
Price, a former representative from Georgia, was also reportedly being investigated for insider trading for investments he made in health care companies while overseeing legislation that could affect the companies. Price was a controversial nominee to the top health spot, in part because he didn’t believe birth control should be free. Part of his appeal to Trump was his detailed plan to overturn Obamacare, but after several failed attempts, the Republican-led Congress has shelved, at least temporarily, a plan to repeal the health care law.
Price isn’t the only member of Trump’s cabinet facing scrutiny for his misuse of taxpayer funds for air travel:
Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin‘s August 21 flight on a government jet to Kentucky with his wife Louise Linton is under investigation by the department’s inspector general. Mnuchin and Linton viewed the solar eclipse, and she posted an Instagram photo of herself leaving the plane that highlighted the expensive brands she was wearing.
Interior secretary Ryan Zinke took several flights on private and military aircraft at taxpayers expense, Politico reports, including a $12,375 flight from Las Vegas to a Montana location that was a 20-minute drive from his home.
Environmental protection agency head Scott Pruitt reportedly spent more than $58,000 on non-commercial travel, including a $14,000 private plane trip in his home state of Oklahoma. The Campaign Legal Center, which advocates for transparency in government, filed a federal information request yesterday to obtain travel information about Pruitt.
Asked about Price’s resignation on Friday, Trump said he “felt very badly” because Price was a “good man.”
He seemed to indicate that the White House had put a ban on travel by private plane unless the plane was owned by the cabinet member, saying “But we put in an order that no more planes…We have great secretaries and some that own their own planes, so that solves that.” He appeared to be referring to education secretary Betsy DeVos, who is using her own private jet for work travel.