Tom Price has resigned as Health and Human Services Secretary amid revelations he took more than two dozen private charter flights domestically since May, reportedly costing taxpayers at least $400,000, and, with White House approval, took military aircraft overseas at a cost of more than $500,000.
The White House released a statement announcing Price’s decision on Friday.
Price followed up by tweeting his resignation letter.
Thank you @POTUS for the opportunity to serve the American people alongside the dedicated folks of @HHSGov. It's been an honor & privilege. pic.twitter.com/nUBNsEDsPv
— Tom Price, M.D. (@SecPriceMD) September 29, 2017
After initially defending his use of private jets as being essential to his work, Price on Thursday issued a statement apologizing for the practice and pledged to pay back the government for the flights. The $51,887 reimbursement, however, would only cover the costs of his seats—not the entire flights.
As both sides of the aisle fumed over the reports this week, the expensive travel of other Trump administration officials, including Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, also came under scrutiny. It’s unclear whether Price’s resignation will lead to other high-level dismissals.
“I certainly don’t like the optics,” Trump told reporters when asked about Price’s fate earlier Friday. “I’m not happy, I can tell you that. I’m not happy.”