Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price resigns after criticism for taking charter flights at taxpayer expense – Washington Post

President Trump said he was deciding whether to fire Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price Sept. 29, after Price took private chartered flights at significant government expense. (The Washington Post)

Breaking: The White House announced Friday afternoon that President Trump has accepted the resignation of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price following the controversy over his use of expensive charter and military flights.

President Trump said he plans to decide Friday night whether to fire embattled Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, who has come under sharp criticism for his use of charter flights.

[Trump: ‘Not happy’ about HHS Secretary Tom Price’s taxpayer-funded travel on private jets]

“He’s a very fine man, but we’re going to make a decision sometime tonight,” Trump told reporters as he left the White House en route to his private golf retreat in Bedminster, N.J.

“I certainly don’t like the optics,” Trump said. “I’m not happy, I can tell you that. I’m not happy.”

Price said Thursday that he would reimburse the government for a fraction of the costs of his flights on charter planes in recent months.

[Tom Price apologizes for private-charter flights, pledges to repay taxpayers nearly $52,000]

A Health and Human Services official said Thursday that Price would write a check for $51,887.31, which appears to cover the cost of his seat on chartered flights but not those of his staffers.

Politico, which first reported on Price’s repeated use of chartered jets, has estimated the total expense of the taxpayer-funded trips exceeded $400,000 — and it reported early Thursday evening that his White House-approved flights on military planes to Africa, Europe and Asia cost more than $500,000.

Besides the charter flight issue, Trump has also directed some of his frustration at Price over the inability of Republicans in Congress to pass a health-care-reform bill.

During a speech in July to a gathering of Boy Scouts, Trump said — jokingly at the time — that Price could lose his job if a bill didn’t pass.

“He better get the votes,” Trump said. “Otherwise I will say, Tom, you’re fired.”

[How Tom Price decided chartered, private jets were a good use of taxpayer money]

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