Will Trump Fire Tom Price? President Upset by Health Secretary's Private Flights


Asked if he had confidence in Price after the reports on his travel, Trump said: "I am looking at that very closely". "The American people deserve cabinet secretaries who place the public good above their own private interests".

"I will tell you personally, I'm not happy about it", the President told reporters as he left the White House on Wednesday afternoon for a speech on tax reform. Asked if Price's job was on the line, he replied: "We'll see".

Investigators will seek records of Price's travel and review the justifications that he and his staff gave for the trips, the spokeswoman for HHS Inspector General Daniel R. Levinson said.

In a letter addressed to Price, both the committee's top Republican, Rep. Trey Gowdy, and Democrat, Rep. Elijah Cummings, said they were "examining the extent to which non-career officials at federal departments and agencies either use government-owned aircraft for personal travel or private non-commercial aircraft for official travel".

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The letter reminded Price and other recipients that official travel for all federal employees must be "by the most expeditious means of transportation practicable", and be in line with an employee's function. The flights cost taxpayers a reported $300,000.

Politico reported earlier this month that Price had flown on a private charter plane-at the expense of taxpayers-at least 24 times since May, trips estimated to exceed $30,000.

Price's office said the secretary's demanding schedule sometimes does not permit the use of commercial airline flights. She also confirmed that the use of private planes had been suspended.

The President's comments came hours after the House Oversight Committee signaled that it was reviewing press reports about private charter jet trips taken by Price and other top officials in the Trump Administration. After speaking at an event with Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in Tennessee, the Mnuchins toured Fort Knox and later watched the solar eclipse after traveling on government planes. Politico found that since May, Price has taken 26 flights on corporate jets, and in several cases, there were commercial flights available to his destinations.