Ground­ing Air Force Trump

New York Daily News - - EDITORIAL -

In a clas­sic Fri­day news dump, Pres­i­dent Trump took a breather from his war with NFL play­ers to get rid of a mem­ber of his own team who was ac­tu­ally dis­re­spect­ing the Amer­i­can peo­ple — jet­set­ter health Sec­re­tary Tom Price, whose eight months of char­ter and mil­i­tary trips cost tax­pay­ers near a mil­lion bucks.

Then the White House, far too be­lat­edly, set a new rule. Bud­get Di­rec­tor Mick Mul­vaney de­clared “the com­mer­cial air sys­tem used by mil­lions of Amer­i­cans ev­ery day” to be “ap­pro­pri­ate, even for very se­nior of­fi­cials.” No kid­ding.

Price “re­signed” Fri­day, a day af­ter he of­fered a mea­ger $52,000 re­pay­ment, the cost of just his seat on char­ter planes he had re­peat­edly and cav­a­lierly com­man­deered.

It was, no­tably, also a day af­ter Politico re­vealed Price and his wife took mil­i­tary jets cost­ing a half-mil­lion dol­lars to Europe and Asia — a move that was ap­proved by the White House.

This was be­hav­ior tol­er­ated if not tac­itly en­cour­aged by a Pres­i­dent who flies vir­tu­ally ev­ery week­end to his golf re­sorts, where he al­most glee­fully com­min­gles pub­lic and pri­vate busi­ness.

Lit­tle won­der En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency Ad­min­is­tra­tor Scott Pruitt spent $58,219 on four mil­i­tary and pri­vate flights be­tween Fe­bru­ary and Au­gust. Or that In­te­rior Sec­re­tary Ryan Zinke’s mil­i­tary jet­set­ting in­cluded at least one $12,000 trip home to Mon­tana. Or that Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Steve Mnuchin took a mil­i­tary jet to Ken­tucky to catch the so­lar eclipse.

New rules were des­per­ately needed. A new cul­ture may for­ever be stuck on the tar­mac.

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