U.S. president Donald Trump’s choice to lead the nation’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) resigned on Friday after less than eight months on the job – the first member of Trump’s cabinet to leave office.
Tom Price – a physician and former congressman from Georgia – stepped down over criticism of trips he took on private and military jets. Deputy HHS secretary Don J. Wright will take his place on an interim basis.
“Secretary of Health and Human Services Thomas Price offered his resignation earlier today and the president accepted,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.
While Price’s departure was termed a resignation, Trump hinted earlier on Friday that the 62-year-old Michigan native’s days were likely numbered.
“He’s a very fine man, but we’re going to make a decision sometime tonight,” Trump told reporters.
Prior to accepting Trump’s appoint to lead the agency, Price represented Georgia’s sixth congressional district in the U.S. Congress from 2005-2017. His last two years in Congress he was the chairman of the House budget committee. Price’s resignation triggered the most expensive U.S. House race in history as “Republican” Karen Handel defeated Democrat Jon Ossoff to keep the seat in GOP hands (for whatever that’s worth). All told, more than $60 million was spent during the race.
While Price engendered plenty of controversy regarding his travel practices, the real reason he lost his job may have been the ongoing failure of “Republicans” in Washington, D.C. to repeal so much as a scrap of former U.S. president Barack Obama‘s socialized medicine monstrosity, Obamacare.
“I think it was easy for Trump to cut him loose because he didn’t really like him and blamed him for repeal failing,” one Beltway source familiar with the GOP’s Obamcare debacle told us. “I mean, he told the Boy Scouts a couple months ago that he would fire Price if repeal didn’t happen.”
That’s true …
“He better get the votes,” Trump told a gathering of more than 40,000 Boy Scouts in West Virginia two months ago. “Otherwise I will say Tom, you’re fired.”
Price isn’t the only member of Trump’s cabinet under fire for questionable travel expenses. Secretary of the interior Ryan Zinke and his aides have also used private and military jets, as have Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) director Scott Pruitt and secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin.
Ironically, Price ripped the use of private jets by administration officials back in 2009 – calling it “fiscal irresponsibility run amok.”
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