Tom Price Out as HHS Secretary

By Melanie Arter | September 29, 2017 | 5:31pm EDT
Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price (Screenshot of Fox News video)

( - The White House announced Friday that Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price has resigned amid controversy over his recent use of chartered planes, totalling more than $1 million.

“Secretary of Health and Human Services Thomas Price offered his resignation earlier today and the President accepted. The President intends to designate Don J. Wright of Virginia to serve as Acting Secretary, effective at 11:59 p.m. on September 29, 2017. Mr. Wright currently serves as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health and Director of the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced in a statement.

As reported, the president indicated Friday afternoon before heading to Bedminster, N.J., that he would make a decision tonight on Price’s future.

Trump called Price “a very fine man,” but said he was “not happy” with Price’s use of private planes at taxpayers’ expense.

The president said he was “disappointed” in Price, “because I didn’t like it cosmetically or otherwise.”

Price had apologized and promised to pay back a portion of the cost of the chartered plane rides - $52,000.

Price isn’t the only cabinet member using private planes on the taxpayer’s dime. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt reportedly spent $58,000 on non-commercial flights. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin recently defended his use of a military plane in August, saying he needed to make a secure phone calls during the flight to the president and National Security Council.

When asked Friday how disappointed the president is in his cabinet members use of non-commercial planes, Trump said, “I have a great cabinet, and we save hundreds of millions of dollars through negotiation. I’ll give you an example.  

“With the F-35 fighter plane -- me, myself -- I've saved hundreds of millions of dollars in negotiating, and that's one of the reasons I don't like seeing anybody even have a question about, you know, flying. I just don't want to do that,” he said during a gaggle before leaving for New Jersey.

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