Grounding Air Force Trump
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.