With press reports that he was frustrated by continuing stories about the cost to taxpayers of private charter jets used for travel by health secretary Tom Price, President Donald Trump told reporters on Friday afternoon at the White House that he was ready to announce a decision on whether Price would remain in his post.
“I’m not happy, okay?” the President told reporters. “I’m not happy.”
But Mr. Trump – who has railed against others in his Cabinet, only to allow them to keep their jobs – did not specifically say what he was going to do with Price.
“Is it safe to say he’ll be leaving your Cabinet, sir?” the President was asked with Marine One idling in the background.
“I don’t want to say, but we’ll be announcing something today,” Mr. Trump added.
As he left the White House for a weekend at his golf retreat in Bedminster, New Jersey, the President seemed to be more than ready to bounce Price from his Cabinet, mixing words of praise for the former Congressman from Georgia with frustration over the Secretary’s spending on private charter jets.
“Secretary Price is a nice man,” the President said of his pick to run HHS.
“I certainly don’t like the optics,” Mr. Trump said, repeatedly talking about how his administration has saved hundreds of millions of dollars for the taxpayers by making certain changes at the federal level.
While Price has said he will repay his portion for a variety of flights, totaling over $50,000, the HHS chief avoided most reporters, sitting only for an interview with Fox News on Thursday evening.
On Capitol Hill, Democrats slammed their former colleague, saying the Georgia Republican who once preached fiscal conservatism was now spending taxpayer dollars without worry.
“Secretary Price must resign,” said Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN).
“As a Congressman, Tom Price called the use of private planes by members of Congress ‘fiscal irresponsibility run amok,'” Cohen added. “Now, as the Secretary of HHS, his priorities have clearly shifted.”