Trump 'not happy' with reports of Price travel

Andrew Harnik  AP

The interior of a Lear-60 executive jet, which Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price chartered to fly from San Diego to the "Aspen Ideas Festival" in Aspen, Colo.

Signed by committee's top Republican and Democrat, the requests demand information on political appointees' use of government planes for personal travel, as well as their use of private charters for official travel.

When asked if he would fire the Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary over the matter, the Republican president said: "We'll see".

The committee sent a letter to Price asking that he "identify each usage of a private, non-commercial aircraft by a non-career official" by October 10. At about the same time, there were connecting commercial flights from Raleigh to Brunswick via Atlanta that would have gotten Price to St. Simons Island that evening.

On Friday, the HHS inspector general said it "is conducting a review of Secretary Price's government travel using chartered aircraft".

"I am not happy with him", Mr Trump told reporters of Mr Price at the White House before departing for Indianapolis, Indiana, on Wednesday. The committee wants details by October 10. Price took a government-owned jet last month to a Georgia resort where he and his wife own property, according to the article, and in June he took a private flight to a health summit in Nashville, where he had a lengthy lunch with his son. "He's a good person".

Trump said, "I was looking into it and I will look into it". Bannon was out three days later.

The letter reminded Price and other recipients that official travel for all federal employees must be "by the most expeditious means of transportation practicable", and be in line with an employee's function.

"I will tell you, personally, I am not happy about it", Trump said. I am not happy about it.

"I'm not going to comment on that because the President hasn't commented publicly", Kellyanne Conway, a senior White House adviser, told reporters. That sort of hectoring and public penny-pinching became part of Price's persona, helping in his rise to chair of the powerful House Budget Committee, where he repeatedly proposed massive cuts to social programs aiding the poor, the elderly and the ill. As HHS secretary, he has questioned whether the Medicaid health insurance program for low-income people delivers results that are worth the billions of dollars taxpayers spend for the coverage.

"The rules that I thought were the rules that we operated under, were: commercial travel - economy", she said. The exceptions are when they are traveling with the president or vice president, who fly aboard government planes.

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