Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price resigned Friday afternoon, the White House said in a statement, following significant backlash over news that he has taken multiple private jets and military flights — all coming at a significant cost to taxpayers.
PRICE OUT pic.twitter.com/YmfgPZiFgv
— Hadas Gold (@Hadas_Gold) September 29, 2017
The president accepted the resignation earlier today, the statement said. Trump will designate Don. J. Wright, who currently serves as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health, as acting secretary.
The resignation is effective Friday at 11:59 p.m.
Price has been under scrutiny since Politico reported on his extensive use of chartered flights last week. The price of those chartered flights totaled more than $400,000, and on Thursday afternoon, Price said he would pay for the price of “his seat” on those flights — just over $50,000 of the total cost.
On Thursday night, it was reported that Price had taken military jets to Europe and Asia, bringing the costs of the secretary’s private flights to more than $1 million since May.
Here's Price's resignation letter, which the White House just released: pic.twitter.com/KRXMCyelnp
— Maegan Vazquez (@maeganvaz) September 29, 2017
The White House released Price’s resignation letter Friday evening.
In it, Price writes, “Success… is more important than any one person. In order for you to move forward without further disruption, I am officially tendering my resignation.”
CNN’s Jeff Zeleny tweeted Price’s goodbye to staff Friday, as well. Price signs off with, “Duty is ours — Results are the Lord’s!”
Secretary Price writes this note to HHS staff, closing with: "Duty is Ours — Results are the Lord's!" pic.twitter.com/eOKBM7sW58
— Jeff Zeleny (@jeffzeleny) September 29, 2017
The White House said it had no role in authorizing the original chartered flights, but a White House official did confirm to Politico that the White House authorized Price’s use of the military jets.
“As the president said yesterday, he’s not thrilled — certainly not happy with the actions,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Thursday before the news that Price had used military jets broke.
Asked earlier this week if he would dismiss Price over the issue, Trump said, “We’ll see.” On Friday afternoon he told reporters he would make his decision by Friday night.
POTUS tells pool he will make a decision on Price by tonight
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) September 29, 2017
Price’s firing from HHS comes on the heels of the failure of the administration and agency’s biggest priority, repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) said Wednesday that Republicans did not have the votes to pass the Graham-Cassidy bill and that it would not come to the floor.