Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price “regrets” his frequent and expensive habit for flying on private jets, he said in a statement on Thursday. The erstwhile fiscal conservative specifically addressed the “concerns” of taxpayers whom he has allegedly fought for his entire political career.
“It is clear to me that in this case, I was not sensitive enough to my concern for the taxpayer,” Price said. “I know as well as anyone that the American people want to know that their hard-earned dollars are being spent wisely by government officials.” Oh do you now?
But his apology, apart from being transparently disingenuous, was also a teeny bit misleading. “Today, I will write a personal check to the US Treasury for the expenses of my travel on private charter planes,” the statement read. “The taxpayers won’t pay a dime for my seat on those planes.”
Politico reported on Thursday that Price’s travel cost upwards of $1 million with additional flights to Africa, Europe, and Asia. It was previously reported that the charter flights cost nearer to $400,000. Price said he would repay the IRS for the cost of his seat on those flights and not the staff he brought with him who would have otherwise flown commercial. An HHS spokesperson said Price’s seat cost $51,887.31. So if I’m doing my math correctly, Price still owes taxpayers a few thousand dimes.
Price’s “no excuses” pledge to fly commercial as Secretary of HHS isn’t worth much either, considering his job is on the line. While President Trump hesitantly told reporters he was considering firing Price on Wednesday, five Democratic lawmakers sent the Secretary a letter on Thursday requesting his resignation.
“The American people deserve cabinet members who place the public good above their own private interests,” the letter from Representatives Ruben Gallego, Ted Lieu, Brenda Lawrence, Jamie Raskin, and Pramila Jayapal read. “For these reasons, we urge you to immediately announce your resignation from the Office of Secretary of Health and Human Services.”