The Trump administration continues its pattern of corruption and hypocrisy. Episodes ranging from Jared Kushner, Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon using their personal email accounts for work-related information after the Trump administration slammed Hillary Clinton to Trump spending over $20 million in taxpayer money on trips to Mar-a-Largo.
Now Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price has been jet-setting at taxpayers’ expense, both before and after he vowed to wring out wasteful spending in the government’s health care programs. The distance between his words and his actions displays the blatant hypocrisy we’ve come to expect from the Trump administration.
Evidently to Tom Price, getting “value” means spending an estimated $300,000 of taxpayer money on chartered flights, instead of taking commercial flights like his two immediate predecessors.
HHS officials said that Price has only used chartered flights when commercial flights were not available. But, many of his flights were between large cities with frequent flights.
On June 6, Price flew privately from Washington to Nashville to make a morning event at a medication distributor and an afternoon speech. However, according to Politico, “There are four regular nonstop flights that leave Washington-area airports between 6:59 a.m. and 8:50 a.m. and arrive in Nashville by 9:46 a.m. CT. Sample round-trip fares for those flights were as low as $202, when booked in advance on Orbitz.com. Price’s charter, according to HHS’ contract with Classic Air Charter, cost $17,760.“
Walter Shaub, who was the Obama-appointed director of the US Office of Government Ethics until July, said of Price’s flights, “This shows a complete disregard for the expense to the taxpayer.”
Even a senior White House official has said, “No one is quite sure what [Price] is doing. You look at this week, we’re doing a last final push trying to get [the Republican healthcare bill] over the finish line, and he’s nowhere to be found.”
Well one thing is for sure, whatever Price is doing, he’s spending a ton of taxpayer money doing it. Although this is what we’ve come to expect from the Trump administration, that doesn’t make it acceptable. Trump and his cronies need to be held accountable.