Tom Price, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services has resigned following revelations that he had taken expensive private jet travel at the taxpayer’s expense to conduct official business.
“Secretary of Health and Human Services Thomas Price offered his resignation earlier today and the President accepted,” a statementon Friday from Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders read.
“The President intends to designate Don J. Wright of Virginia to serve as Acting Secretary, effective at 11:59 p.m. on September 29, 2017.
“Mr. Wright currently serves as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health and Director of the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.”
Price’s resignation follows a flurry of negative and damaging headlines over that use of private and military jets.
On Thursday, Price cut a check for the costs he incurred, but he had chosen only to pay for the price of his seats on the plane (just under $52,000) and not the total cost of the trips themselves (which exceeded $1 million).
In his resignation letter, Price expressed his regret “that the recent events have created a distraction.”
“You may rest assured that I will continue to support your critical priorities going ahead because failure is not an option for the American people,” he added.
Price’s tenure was also damaged by his inability to shepherd the process of repealing and replacing Obamacare.
Price had championed repeal legislation when he served in the House of Representatives, but he was notably distant from the debate while at HHS—an absence that reportedly irritated President Trump.