Draining the Swamp continues: Tom Price out at HHS

Draining the Swamp continues: Tom Price out at HHS

Draining the Swamp continues: Tom Price out at HHS

Tom Price is out as Health and Human Services Secretary. Considering Obamacare still remains after nine months of Trump being in office, this is probably a good thing. But that’s not the reason he’s gone – he showed himself to be a swamp creature.

Price tendered his resignation on Friday after President Trump expressed dissatisfaction with Price’s travel expenditures. Since being sworn into office, Price has spent over $1,000,000 on travel through charter of private and military jets. Some of these expenditures, such as international trips, are not at issue. It is the trips that Price took for seemingly unjustifiable reasons, and those where he mixed business with pleasure that are drawing the most scrutiny.

POLITICO revealed in a series of articles that Price flew at least 26 times on private aircraft at a cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars, a sharp break with his predecessors’ practice. Many of Price’s flights were between major cities that offered inexpensive alternatives on commercial airlines, including Nashville, Philadelphia and San Diego.

On some of those trips, Price, an orthopedic surgeon, mixed official business with personal affairs. He took a government-funded private jet in August to get to St. Simons Island, an exclusive Georgia resort where he and his wife own land, a day and a half before he addressed a medical conference he and his wife have long attended. In June, HHS chartered a private jet to fly Price to Nashville, where he owns a condominium and where his son resides. Price toured a medicine dispensary, spoke to a local health summit organized by a friend and had lunch with his son, an HHS official confirmed.

Price also used military aircraft for multi-national trips to Africa, Europe and Asia, at a cost of more than $500,000 to taxpayersThe White House said it had approved those trips but not the private jets within the United States.

The dumping of Price helps Trump live up to his campaign promise of draining the swamp. While the HHS Secretary seemed to be a good fit for Price, since he is a doctor and had produced some good ideas to fix Obamacare, he did not live up to his own promise. As HHS secretary it seems as if he could have done more to help Congress get a good solution to Obamacare moving. Perhaps he did more behind the scenes than is known to the public (and to be sure he ISN’T supposed to be making law as part of the Executive branch), but unfortunately all the public knows about is how much of our money he spent frivolously.

But Price will be ok. He is worth $14.1 million and is the 9th wealthiest official in the Executive Branch. Wow. Who are the other 7 (I assume Trump tops everybody!)? Maybe we should have taken more heed when it was shown during Price’s confirmation hearings that his investment portfolio consisted of medical related stock. While possessing superior knowledge of the industry is very valuable for HHS, he may have had a little too much knowledge.

Last year, as a member of the House, Price purchased up to $15,000 of Zimmer Biomet stock days before introducing legislation that would have directly benefited the medical device manufacturer, according to House records reviewed by CNN. Also, the Wall Street Journal reported in December that Price traded roughly $300,000 in health companies’ shares over the past four years while pursuing legislation that could impact them.

Price offered to reimburse America for his travel. But only HIS travel – his seat on the planes – which amounted to $52,000. There was no mention of the reimbursement of the full cost of the questionable charters. Despite having a reputation for a staunch fiscal conservative from the time he served as Georgia’s Representative in the House, Price sure didn’t follow through when the checkbook was in his hands.

Trump could have accepted the offer to reimburse the country and allow him to stay on. That’s basically how these things are handled these days. But he didn’t – and that’s a good thing. This shows that Trump won’t accept hypocrisy on matters of fiscal interest and he was probably irritated with Price since he really didn’t seem to have much leadership when the chips were down. Price will be fine – he’ll go back to his cushy investment portfolio, sniff out the best opportunities, and be employed on K Street before the end of the year. He’ll be very happy there.

Written by


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Become a Victory Girl!

Are you interested in writing for Victory Girls? If you’d like to blog about politics and current events from a conservative POV, send us a writing sample here.
Ava Gardner