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HHS Secretary resigns amid flight criticism


U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Tom Price, MD, has resigned from his post following furor over his use of private planes for government business paid for by taxpayers.

In a Sept. 29 press statement, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Dr. Price offered his resignation early Sept. 29 and that President Trump accepted. Don J. Wright, deputy assistant secretary for health and director of the office of disease prevention and health promotion, will serve as Acting Secretary effective Sept. 30, according to the statement.

Dr. Tom Price, Health and Human Services Secretary
Dr. Tom Price

Dr. Price’s resignation comes after widespread criticism over his alleged repeated use of taxpayer-funded charter flights. Politico first broke the story, reporting that he has taken at least 24 flights on private charter planes at taxpayers’ expense since early May, costing an estimated $400,000-$500,000. After the reports, Dr. Price announced that he planned to write a personal check to the government for $60,000 to cover the cost of the flights.

During a press briefing on Sept. 29, President Trump said he was “disappointed” with Dr. Price’s actions, and that the White House was looking into the accusations.

“I felt very badly because Secretary Price is a good man, but we are looking into it, and we’re looking into it very strongly,” President Trump said at the briefing.

In his resignation letter, posted on Twitter, Dr. Price expressed remorse for having created a distraction for the administration and said he was grateful for the opportunity to have served as HHS Secretary.

“I have spent 40 years both as a doctor and public servant putting people first,” Dr. Price said in his resignation letter. “I regret that the recent events have created a distraction from these important objectives. Success on these issues is more important than any one person. In order for you to move forward without further disruption, I am officially tendering my resignation.”

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