Following a week-long scandal over his lavish use of private jets while traveling on Government business, Health and Human Services secretary Tom Price has resigned. He’ll be temporarily replaced by Don Wright, deputy assistant secretary for Health and Director of the Office of Disease prevention.
“Secretary of Health and Human Services Thomas Price offered his resignation earlier today and the President accepted,” the White House said in a statement. “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.”
Price became the focus of intense criticism after it was reported that he’d racked up huge taxpayer bill taking chartered flights. In the week before September 20, Price was revealed to have used private jets for government business five times — including for a 125-mile trip from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C.
As a congressman from Georgia, Price was a frequent critic of federal spending and a proponent in 2009 of decreasing the amount of money spent on jets used by government employees, declaring on CNBC that spending millions on the aircraft was “another example of fiscal irresponsibility run amok in Congress.”
As it turns out, Price’s record as HHS Secretary compared poorly to his Obama-era counterparts. Obama’s HHS secretaries Sylvia Mathews Burwell and Kathleen Sebelius used commercial flights while conducting official business. Price, meanwhile, cost taxpayers more than $1 million, using chartered flights domestically and military flights to travel abroad, according to Politico.