AP

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price has claimed that the estimated $300,000 in taxpayer dollars he has spent on chartered airplanes while in office is actually a huge favor to all of us.

After Politico reported that Price, a frequent critic of wasteful government spending, had been spending so much on private planes, a spokesperson for the secretary told the Washington Post on Friday that he had nothing to be ashamed of:

This is Secretary Price, getting outside of D.C., making sure he is connected with the real American people. Wasting four hours in an airport and having the secretary cancel his event is not a good use of taxpayer money.

You know what’s a good way to connect with “real American people”? Spending some time with them at, say, an airport! Perhaps they’d even tell you why trying to wrench $1 trillion from Medicaid is a pretty terrible idea.

According to Politico, Price’s chartered flight from Washington D.C. to Philadelphia—just over 100 miles away—likely cost around $25,000, while a ticket for that same trip on a commercial flight leaving at approximately the same time as Price’s private jet would have cost taxpayers anywhere from $447 to $725.

But, honestly, who can put a price tag on connecting with real Americans, right?