Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price apologized Thursday for using taxpayer dollars to fund his work trips on private jets. “I was not sensitive enough to my concern for the taxpayer,” he said, pledging to stop taking charter flights — and to reimburse the Treasury Department for the cost of his past trips.
But here’s the thing: The amount he’s pledged to pay — $51,887.31, according NPR and other news outlets — appears to be a mere fraction of the total sum he cost taxpayers. Politico reported Thursday that Price’s many private jet trips this year — several to places as far-flung as Ho Chi Minh City and Beijing — have racked up a tab of more than $1 million since May.
Back in June, Price, a former congressman from Georgia who earned a reputation as a budget hawk, spoke out in favor of a budget for the Department of Health and Human Services that would slash its annual travel funding by about 15%.
The news accounts of Price’s private jet habit have reportedly infuriated President Donald Trump. Trump told reporters on Wednesday that he was “not happy” with Price. When asked if Price’s job was on the line, Trump simply said “we’ll see.”