Trump official billed US for $456,000 in private jets over five months: report

Trump official billed US for $456,000 in private jets over five months: report

UNEDITED photos from Freedomworks New Fair Deal Rally in Upper Senate Park outside the US Capitol, Washington DC on April 15 2013.

New information is coming out about the use of private jets by Tom Price, the former Georgia congressman who spent eight months as Secretary of Health and Human Services in 2017.

"Tom Price, the health and human services secretary, resigned under pressure… after racking up at least $400,000 in travel bills for chartered flights and undermining President Trump's promise to drain the swamp of a corrupt and entitled capital," The New York Timesreported at the time. "Already in trouble with Mr. Trump for months of unsuccessful efforts to repeal and replace President Barack Obama's health care program, Mr. Price failed to defuse the president's anger by offering regret and a partial reimbursement."

A Freedom of Information Act request was filed by The Washington Post and the new emails the newspaper obtained shed light on how the scandal began.

It started in April of 2017, only four months after Price took over the department. Price's staffers sought to fly him to Los Angeles after his Delta Air Lines flight was delayed due to bad weather.

"Officials quickly secured a $29,000 charter flight — which also had to be scuttled, as tornadoes plagued the D.C. region. But the day's events left a scar on Price's top aides, who vowed that the Trump Cabinet official would never again wait on a commercial airline's schedule, and foreshadowed a five-month travel sprint in which the health department spent $456,000 in taxpayer money on Price's charter flights across the United States," the newspaper reported.

In one case, Price did not even need to fly at all, much less on a private jet.

"One of the final trips came in September 2017, when health officials chartered a jet for Price, White House adviser Kellyanne Conway and their aides to fly round trip between Washington and Philadelphia — at a cost of $14,955 to taxpayers, according to government records," The Post reported. "The department's Office of Inspector General later concluded that Price's flight to Philadelphia wasted more than $10,000 in taxpayer money compared with flying commercial, and that he could have made the trip by train."

Prior to joining the Trump administration, Price spent a dozen years in Congress and chaired the House Budget Committee.

Read the full report.

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