HHS Secretary Tom Price resigned Friday amid controversy over his use of a private charter aircraft for domestic travel for which he could have used commercial aircraft.
From the Associated Press:
Privately, Trump has been telling associates in recent days that his health chief had become a distraction and was overshadowing his tax overhaul agenda and undermining his campaign promise to “drain the swamp” of corruption, according to three people familiar with the discussions who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The flap prompted scrutiny of other Cabinet members’ travel, as the House Oversight and Government Reform committee launched a governmentwide investigation of top political appointees. Other department heads have been scrambling to explain their own travel.
Price’s repayment of $51,887.31 for his own travel costs and his public expression of regrets did not placate the White House. The total travel cost, including the secretary’s entourage, was unclear. It could amount to several hundred thousand dollars.
Price’s travel, after years for serving as a House member supposedly dedicated to cutting costs, appears to be inexcusable, which he seems to have acknowledged by offering to pay for his trips.
But let’s also stipulate a couple of things. With President Trump in office, the mainstream media seems to have regained an excitement for investigative journalism that it had lost during Barack Obama’s time in office. I’d like to see an investigation now of the travel habits of Obama cabinet members not involved in national security. I’d be willing to bet it would be revealing.
And where was the press while Obama himself traveled to Hawaii every single year of his presidency at a total cost that probably went into tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer funds? I documented the trips and called the president out on it, as did Judicial Watch, but preciously few journalists seemed to care. Obama even traveled to Washington and back to Hawaii during one of his vacations in order to sign a bill. And Mrs. Obama at least once flew separately.
Where was the outrage then? Obama didn’t need to “return” to his homeland of Hawaii every year. Is he a salmon that has to swim upstream to its ancestral waters to spawn?
Price’s actions are incomprehensible. But let’s put this in perspective before we get all worked up.