Trump on Price's Taxpayer Funded Private Plane Use: 'I Certainly Don't Like the Optics'

By Melanie Arter | September 29, 2017 | 4:40pm EDT
President Donald Trump (Screenshot of White House video)

( - Shortly before taking off to Bedminster, N.J., on Friday, President Donald Trump said he will make a decision Friday night about the fate of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and “announcing something in the very near future.”

"He's a very fine man. I certainly don't like the optics. I'm not happy, I can tell you that. I'm not happy,” the president said about Price, who’s been under fire lately for taking at least two dozen trips on charter planes recently, totalling more than $1 million.

“He’s a very fine man, but we’re gonna make a decision some time tonight. He’s a very, very fine man,” Trump told reporters before boarding a helicopter to Andrews Air Force Base, where he will then head to New Jersey.

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

The president first indicated on Wednesday that he was “not happy” with the HHS secretary after news broke about Price’s trips on private planes.

When asked Friday whether he has confidence in Price, the president said, “Not a question of confidence. I was disappointed, because I didn’t like it cosmetically or otherwise. I was disappointed, and you know, this is an administration that saves hundreds of millions of dollars on renegotiating things, on new trade deals. You’ll be seeing the results very soon.

“We’re renegotiating NAFTA. We’re renegotiating so many different things and making much better deals. You’ll be seeing other other things come up, so I don’t like to see somebody that perhaps there’s the perception that it wasn’t right,” Trump added.

Trump also drew a comparison to the Obama administration, saying the previous administration “spent a lot of time in the air.”

“We have great secretaries, and we have some that actually own their own planes as you know, and that solves that, but we put in an order that no more planes. If you look at past administrations, for instance, if you look at the Obama administration, and you take a look at the amount of time that they spent in the air, they spent a lot of time in the air, but I felt very badly, because Secretary Price is a good man, but we are looking into it very strongly,” he said.

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