President Donald Trump said Friday that he would make a decision on the future of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price “probably today.”
Price is mired in a scandal over the cost of his travel on private charter planes and military flights. Taxpayers’ bill has now exceeded $1 million, by Politico’s latest count.
On Thursday, an unnamed HHS spokesperson told TPM Price would reimburse the U.S. Treasury for $51,887.31 for the flights, which Price later called “unprecedented.”
“I think he’s a fine person,” Trump told reporters on Friday, on his way to Marine One. “I certainly don’t like the optics.”
Trump noted, despite other reports that have found other Cabinet secretaries using thousands of taxpayer dollars for private charter flights: “We have great secretaries and we have some that actually own their own planes, as you know, and that solves that.”
Indeed, Trump’s Cabinet is the richest in American history. Education Secretary Betsy Devos’ office has confirmed that she uses her own private plane for work trips, but pays for it herself.
“I felt very badly because Secretary Price is a good man,” Trump said. “But we are looking into it, and we’re looking into it very strongly.”