President Trump has told people close to him that Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price has become a distraction to the administration’s agenda and its efforts to push tax reform through Congress after it was revealed that Price spent several hundred thousand dollars on taxpayer-funded private jets for government business, according to a report from The Associated Press.
Trump said that Price’s actions have undermined his vow to “drain the swamp.”
When asked if he had plans to fire the HHS head, Trump said: “We’ll see.”
The White House on Thursday also refused to say whether Price would keep his job.
“We’re going to conduct a full review and see what happens,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.
“As the president said yesterday, he’s not happy with the actions,” Sanders said. “We’re looking at the issue.”
The Hill added:
Despite the response from Trump and the White House, Price said on Thursday he looks forward to regaining the president trust after pledging to write a personal check to the Treasury Department to reimburse taxpayers for his travel.
“I work at the pleasure of the president. The president is a remarkable leader. I’m incredibly privileged to serve in his Cabinet and work on behalf of the American people,” Price told Fox News’s Bret Baier on “Special Report.”
“I look forward to gaining, regaining, the trust that the American people — some of the American people — may have lost in the activities that I took. And to not only regain the trust of the American people, but to gain the trust of the administration and the president,” Price said.
Price isn’t the only Cabinet member to come under intense scrutiny for using taxpayer-funded planes.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin used a private jet in August and requested a government plane to take him and his wife on their European honeymoon, while Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt used private jets for government business, costing taxpayers more than $58,000, according to the Washington Post.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke spent $12,000 in taxpayer money to charter a corporate jet owned by oil and gas executives despite daily commercial flights on the same route that cost $300.
And the Washington Post reported on Friday that Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin spent nearly half his time on a recent taxpayer-funded international trip sightseeing and shopping with his wife.