Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price has been in hot water this week over reports he chartered private planes for routine government travel. Politico first reported Price's use of private planes last week, alleging the health secretary took at least 26 private flights on taxpayers' dime, incurring charges of more than $400,000.
On Thursday, the Department of Health and Human Services released a statement from Price, in which he said he would not take any more chartered flights while serving as health secretary, "no exceptions," and promised to reimburse the government. "The taxpayers won't pay a dime for my seat on those planes," Price said in the statement.
But Fox News' Fin Gomez reported Thursday afternoon that a senior source at HHS said Price will pay exactly $51,887.31 back to the federal government for the flights — roughly 13 percent of the total cost incurred. In other words, it seems Price intends to pay the government back for only his seat on the private planes, which would not have been chartered in the first place had Price not chartered them:
NEW: Senior HHS source says that HHS secretary Tom Price will specifically pay $51,887.31 over useage of a private plane.
— Fin Gomez (@finnygo) September 28, 2017
The flights Price chartered cost more than $400,000. Price apparently plans only to pay for his own seat. https://t.co/9lEXhhhLGY
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) September 28, 2017
President Trump on Wednesday said he was "not happy" with Price's travel choices, and would not firmly say he wouldn't fire Price over the flights. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Thursday that a determination on Price's tenure with the White House wouldn't be made until after the matter had been thoroughly reviewed, but noted Trump had made clear his disapproval of Price's decisions. Kimberly Alters