Trump accepts Tom Price’s resignation

Trump accepts Tom Price's resignation
© Greg Nash

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price resigned Friday, after an uproar over his use of private jets for official business.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement that Price offered his resignation to President Trump on Friday, and Trump accepted.

Price’s position appeared to be at risk in recent days as Trump made several remarks about being disappointed in the situation.

Trump made ominous remarks Friday about how he was going to make a decision soon on Price’s future. Asked by reporters Friday afternoon if Price had offered to resign, Trump replied: “No, but we’ll see what happens later on.”

It marks the first time a cabinet official has resigned under Trump. Price, a former Georgia congressman, was supposed to bridge the gap between Congress and the administration.

Don Wright, HHS’s acting assistant secretary for health, will serve as acting secretary effective Saturday.

Price’s position in the administration has appeared precarious since Politico reported this week that Price’s use of military flights and private jets has cost more than $1 million since May.

Price tried to clean up the damage by offering to pay for “his seat” on the flights, which comes to about $52,000.

Other administrative officials, including Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, have also faced criticism in recent days for using private planes for travel.

The actions by Trump officials seem at odds with Trump’s promise to “drain the swamp” and end corruption in Washington. Trump acknowledged earlier on Friday he didn’t like the “optics” and was “not happy” with Price.

Price is now being investigated by HHS’s inspector general and the House Oversight Committee.

Price’s departure also follows the GOP’s latest failure to repeal ObamaCare.

Repealing President Obama’s signature health-care law was a top priority for Trump and he joked this summer that Price would be fired if it didn’t happen.

The resignation sets up a huge confirmation fight in the Senate for Price’s replacement.

Democrats have accused the administration of trying to sabotage ObamaCare, and whoever is nominated to replace Price will likely face questions about how they would manage the law.

And HHS could be without a secretary for open enrollment, which begins Nov. 1, if a nominee isn’t confirmed quickly.

Prior to his resignation, Price apologized for his travel and said he looks forward to regaining Trump’s trust.

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