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Tom Price has resigned as health and human services secretary,
the White House announced on Friday.
“Secretary of Health and Human Services Thomas Price offered his
resignation earlier today, and the President accepted,” the White
House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said in a
Price in recent days had elicited bipartisan outrage over the
cost of his air travel. Politico has reported that Price has
cost taxpayers more than $1 million between his use of
private planes for domestic travel and military jets for recent
trips to Africa, Europe, and Asia.
In a letter
to President Donald Trump on Friday, which was obtained by
media, Price said he was submitting his resignation to allow the
administration to “move forward without further disruption.”
“I have spent forty years both as a doctor and public servant
putting people first,” Price said in the letter. “I regret that
recent events have created a distraction from these important
Trump earlier on Friday afternoon had said he would decide later
in the day whether to fire Price.
“He’s a very fine person. I certainly don’t like the optics,”
Trump told reporters as he was boarding Marine One. “I’m not
happy, I can tell you that. I’m not happy.”
He added: “We have great secretaries, and we have some that
actually own their own planes, so that solves that.”
Trump intends to designate Don Wright as acting secretary, the
White House said. Wright is currently the deputy assistant
secretary for health and the director of the Office of Disease
Prevention and Health Promotion.
Politico has found that Price opted for private travel over
commercial flights 24 times since May, exceeding $400,000. His
use of military jets for international travel, on which his wife,
Betty, joined him, cost taxpayers more than $500,000, the outlet