In breaking news from the White House, Tom Price, the Secretary for Health and Human Services, tendered his resignation effective immediately. His role will be temporarily filled by Don J. Wright as Acting Secretary. Mr. Wright is currently serving as a Deputy Assistant Secretary in the department.
Price’s resignation should not come as surprise as he has come under increasing scrutiny for his use of government chartered jets for what was, in many instances, personal travel. Now other Cabinet members such as the Secretary for Veterans Affairs David Shuklin are also being criticized for their misuse of taxpayer dollars to fund personal trips which included visiting Wimbledon and going on river cruises with his wife.
Trump told press corps members earlier today that Price was “a very fine person” (which is usually the kiss of death from the POTUS) and that he would announce his decision on Price later today. In other words, Trump was playing an episode of Cabinet Apprentice. And leaving Price dangling in the wind. Without the least bit of irony, Trump took Air Force One yet again to spend the weekend at his private resort in Bedminster, NJ.
Price might have been able to hang on to his job if some kind, any kind, of healthcare legislation had been passed by the Republican-controlled Congress. He might have thought that Trump was joking during his speech to the Boy Scouts that he would fire Price if Repeal and Replace failed. Obviously, Trump wasn’t.
Price is a long-time Washington insider having served six terms as the representative from the Sixth District of Georgia. The election between Jon Ossoff and Karen Handel to fill his seat captured national attention during their primary and subsequent run-off, with the Republican Handel the eventual winner. At least he took the dignified route of resignation, rather than waiting for someone (never Trump) to say “You’re Fired!”
But don’t feel sorry for Tom Price. With an estimated net worth of approximately $8 million (which some claim came as a result of insider trading) he won’t be applying for food stamps any time soon. The White House has not announced if they will waive the five-year ban on any member of the Trump administration working for a lobbying firm, but as they have yet to enforce it, it is likely that Price will land on his feet in a very cushy job.
Now that the focus is off Tom Price – who’s the next candidate for Cabinet Apprentice” Mnunchin? Shuklin? Who knows. This would be quite entertaining for the country if it weren’t so damned sad for our nation.