President Donald Trump, when asked this week whether he would fire Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, said “we’ll see,” adding that he’s “not happy” about how Price spent taxpayer money to charter planes when he could have just as easily flown commercial.
Price on Thursday vowed to reimburse taxpayers the amount of money he spent to charter the flights, which reportedly totaled around $300,000 since May. While the act of repaying hardworking Americans is a good gesture, the HHS chief missed the point. And, for that matter, so did Trump.
Trump ran on draining the swamp. He promised he would gut wasteful spending. Meanwhile, in the span of just one month, it was reported that Trump’s treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin, and Price, both chartered private planes.
Ladies and gentleman, this is not draining the swamp. These examples are, by all accounts, polluting it further.
It would be one thing if Price actually had some type of major accomplishment to point to while in office. But he doesn’t. Health care reform has now fallen flat three times in a row. Yes, Republicans in Congress have technically stopped the legislation from going forward, but it’s the HHS secretary’s job to craft new policy that enough members of his own party can get on board with. Price has so far failed in his duty.
To add insult to injury, repealing and replacing Obamacare was one of, if not the central promise, of Trump’s presidential campaign. For Republicans to come back to voters in 2018 and say, “well, we tried, but too many moderate Republicans killed our attempts” won’t cut it. That message, I guarantee you, will be met with a variation of “yes, but you promised, so now it’s time for you to go.” And, really, who can blame voters for thinking that way?
For Price, it’s three strikes and you’re out. Three times he has let the president, and American voters, down. If the average American worker let his or her boss down three times over the span of just a few months, would they still have a job? Probably not. But Price acts as if, despite failing miserably in his job thus far, he is somehow entitled to luxuries that frankly, he shouldn’t enjoy even if he had been wildly successful in his role.
For a man who is able to reimburse $300,000 to taxpayers to charter a private plane for a trip from Washington, D.C. to Philadelphia, a trip that takes only about a few hours by car and just two hours by train, you’d think he would at least be smart enough to realize what infuriates voters the most — entitled politicians in Washington who repeatedly screw over hardworking American taxpayers because, hey, why not, everyone else is doing it.
Moreover, Price has a history of what many might characterize as corrupt actions during his time in Washington.
During his Senate confirmation hearing, for example, Price was confronted with the fact that he traded health-related stocks even as then Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) sat on the House of Representatives health subcommittee and was privy to information that could have helped his personal bottom line.
Tom Price is the epitome of everything Trump promised to dismantle in Washington, D.C.: questionable ethics, inaction and no results. The sooner Trump realizes this, and sends Price on his way, the better.