President Donald Trump accepted the resignation of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price on Friday following reports that he's been taking private flights costing taxpayers more than $1 million since May.
A statement from Press Secretary Sarah Sanders reads:
“Secretary of Health and Human Services Thomas Price offered his resignation earlier today and the President accepted,” the White House said in a statement on Friday. “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.”
The administration faced increasing pressure to address Price's excessive use of taxpayer money for travel since Politico broke the story last week. According to the report, he's taken at least 24 flights on private charter planes at taxpayers’ expense since early May.
Prior to Price's resignation, the president expressed disappointment to reporters regarding the former secretary: “He's a very fine man. I certainly don't like the optics. I'm not happy, I can tell you that. I'm not happy.” The president argued that his administration is working toward saving taxpayers' money and didn't like the optics of Price's actions.
In response to the controversy, Price said he would personally reimburse the cost for his privet jet use; however, he qualified that he'd only cover his seat and not the entire price tag. “The taxpayers won’t pay a dime for my seat on those planes.”
While the White House initial denied approving the former secretary's flights, a report by Politico disputed the claim, showing that the administration had authorized more than half of the military aircraft travel.
Watch Trump's comments on Price minutes prior to the announcement of his resignation below, via MSNBC.