Shortly before the White House announced that Tom Price would resign from his role as health and human services secretary, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) reportedly made a plea to reconsider the decision to fire Price.
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly called Ryan just minutes before the White House made the announcement on Friday afternoon to let him know that Price would step down, Politico reported, citing two people with knowledge of the call.
Ryan then asked Kelly to reconsider firing Price and noted the former secretary’s work in Congress and in the Trump administration, per Politico; however, Kelly told Ryan that the decision had already been made.
Ryan’s statement about Price’s resignation Friday did not mention the former health secretary’s extensive use of private jets. Instead, it offered praise for Price.
“Tom Price is a good man. He has spent his entire adult life fighting for others, first as a physician and then as a legislator and public servant,” Ryan said in the statement. “He was a leader in the House and a superb health secretary. His vision and hard work were vital to the House’s success passing our health care legislation. I will always be grateful for Tom’s service to this country and, above all, his continued friendship.”
Price stepped down following reports that he spent about $1 million of taxpayers’ dollars to fly to official events on either private or government planes.
His use of expensive travel options, as well as the non-commercial flying habits of other Cabinet members, have prompted department watchdogs and Congress alike to launch probes into Trump administration officials’ travel habits. The White House also issued a memo reminding officials to find the the least expensive mode of transportation possible when booking their travel.