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Politics: The cost of Tom Price's air travel tops $1 million

Tom Price

The White House approved military planes for Tom Price to travel overseas twice this year, at a cost of about $500,000.

The White House had twice given Price permission to use military jets for trips to Africa, Europe, and Asia, Politico said. Price's wife, Betty, joined him on those flights, which cost US taxpayers about $500,000.

A White House spokesman said in a statement that travel on military jets is sometimes "an appropriate and necessary use of resources."

The news comes amid a growing scandal over Price's use of private chartered flights to conduct government business. Since May, the health secretary has taken at least 24 such flights, at a cost of about $400,000 to taxpayers.

That brings the total estimated cost of Price's private and military air travel so far this year to more than $1 million, Politico said.

Price said in a statement on Thursday that he would pay the government about $52,000 for the cost of his seat on the private domestic flights. A spokeswoman for his office said Price reimbursed the government for his wife's travel on the international trips.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday said he was "not happy" about his health secretary's frequent use of private planes. "I'm going to look at it. I let him know it," Trump said, apparently leaving open the possibility of firing him.

Still, Price echoed the president's comments in an interview Thursday night with Fox News' Brett Baier. "I look forward to gaining — regaining the trust of the American people," Price said, adding that he also hoped to "gain the trust of the administration and the president" again.

"There will be no private air charters at HHS going forward," Price said.

Price at one time billed himself as a fiscal conservative. As recently as 2009, he rebuked government spending on travel, CNBC reported at the time, specifically calling out House Democrats who wanted to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on private jets.

Source: pulse.ng



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