By Lynda Lamp
We have seen the hypocrisy of our Federal Administrations in the past. But we have never seen anything like the depth and breadth of this level of hypocrisy. The Trump Administration is worthy of the biggest Hypocrisy Award possible.
Restricting the use of private jets by government employees was a pet crusade of Tom Price the current Health and Human Services Director. But in 2009 as a Congressman from Georgia, Price was extremely critical of Democrats when they tried to spend $550 million on eight passenger jets. When the Democrats cut the number to $220 million for four planes that still wasn’t enough for Price In 2009 it would appear Price cared about what things cost the taxpayers.
“I think we’ve made it halfway of where we ought to and that is cut it from eight to four jets,” Price said at the time. “Now we need to cut it from four jets to zero jets. This is just another example of fiscal irresponsibility run amok in Congress right now.”
But in 2017 Tom Price no longer cares about the trivialities of the cost of taxpayer-funded travel if it means he’ll get inconvenienced.
Still, He Persisted
As I wrote earlier in the month, Tom Price after suffering the supreme inconvenience of a delayed flight has developed an unquenchable thirst for private jet travel. So, even after reports started breaking last week about his outrageous and expensive travel habits, still he persisted!
Reported on by Politico, Price continued to book private flights, taking more chartered trips just last week at a taxpayer expense of $56,500. This additional amount raises the total estimate reported by Politico to $400,000 in tax-payer funded travel since Price took office.
Oh The Irony
It’s ironic, isn’t it? Price used to care what jet travel cost our government. But now Tom Price doesn’t appear to care how much things cost, or who pays for them. It brings to mind the saying: “it’s all in the name” doesn’t it? Remember Bernie Madoff, who “made off” with his investors’ millions of dollars? And now we have a guy named Price who doesn’t care about the price of things.
Three Way Trouble
Spending taxpayer money on self-serving behaviors seems to be a growing trend among Trump’s Administrators. What makes this story triply troubling for Americans is that Tom Price is not alone. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Scott Pruitt both have displayed expensive travel habits. All three men are now under investigation!
This summer Treasury Secretary Munchin requested a military jet for him and his wife, Louise Linton. They were going on their honeymoon in Europe. Mnuchin claims the application revolved around ensuring he had secure communications and information while he traveled. He was on his honeymoon. Why was it so important to have secure communications and information while on his honeymoon? He’s the Treasury Secretary, not a General.
Mnuchin claims his request for the Air Force request was entirely appropriate. However, the Treasury Department has launched an inquest into Mnuchin’s travel according to the LA Times on September 17, 2017:
“The government has never paid for any of my personal travel,” he said when asked about it during a forum hosted by Politico. “At the time, my staff wanted to make sure I constantly had access to secure communication and secure information. This is one of the things we explored.”
“This had nothing to do with convenience,” Mnuchin said. “This was purely about national security.”
I know being the Secretary of the Treasury is an important job, but people take vacations and staff cover for them. If there had been some national security issue that involved the Treasury and they couldn’t live without Mnuchin, they could have crossed that bridge when they got to it. It seems as if egos are larger than the issue here.
But Wait There’s More
EPA’s Scott Pruitt appears to be the most recent culprit to come under fire, but his EPA’s Inspector General has been investing Pruitt since August. In a story broken by CBS on September 26, 2017:
First, he had awith President Trump. Then, he went on to New York’s JFK Airport on an Air Force jet, leaving behind $350 commercial flights and sticking taxpayers with a bill for at least $20,000.
He then flew to Italy for an international summit that didn’t start until three days later, and he left that meeting a day early. It’s unclear why he was in a rush.
Back in August the EPA’s Inspector General launched a probe into Scott Pruitt’s travel to his home state of Oklahoma. According to the Washington Times on August 28, 2017:
Mr. Pruitt appears to have spent at least 43 of his first 92 days in office in Oklahoma or traveling to and from the state, according to Freedom of Information Act requests filed by the Environmental Integrity Project, a nonprofit advocacy group. The travel is estimated to have cost taxpayers at least $12,000, not including costs for Mr. Pruitt’s aides or the security detail traveling with him.
We’ll just have to wait for these inquests to get completed before we’ll know all the details.
Grounded Playing the Blame Game
Vanity Fair reports that the Health and Human Services Inspector General will be launching a formal review of Tom Price’s travel habits. And when pressured in an interview on Saturday, September 23, 2017, with Fox and Friends, Price said:
The “optics in some of this don’t look good,” he conceded. “I don’t think there would be any charter trips until this review is complete. I think that’s appropriate because of the concerns that we’ve heard.”
But he couldn’t leave it there. He had to get off the porch and start flinging mud as is the habit of this Administration.
“Remember that there are folks who want to see this president fail; there are folks who want to see this administration fail,” Price said. “That is part of the stream; we are swimming upstream against that kind of current, but that’s not dissuading us at all.”
Price is categorically incorrect with this statement. No, there are not folks who want to see this president fail. This president is a fail! First of all, he was not honestly elected. Second of all, he has a following of less than one-third of this country. And third by it “not dissuading us at all” you are telling the majority of American people “we don’t care what you want.”
Price, Pruitt, and Mnuchin. Three Trump stooges.
How Deep Is This Crap
In addition to the private jet travel scandals, today’s news is drowning with reports of the use of private email accounts for as many as six Trump White House officials. I’m sure they are still counting, and as we saw with Junior’s meeting a while ago, the number of offenders will likely grow. More irony and more hypocrisy! This Administration made the chant “Lock her up” the battle cry of their campaign. It’s a bit mind-numbing, isn’t it? Mind-numbing ironic hypocrisy.
I hope you have some comfortable hip boots. It looks like we will be wading around in hypocritical crap for some time to come.
Remember to breathe! We all must eat. It always helps to pray.
And for goodness sake, VOTE!