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Trump Expresses Displeasure at Cabinet Member's Travel


FILE - U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price speaks during an event at the World Health Organization office in Beijing, Aug. 21, 2017.

President Donald Trump, who promised to "drain the swamp" as a candidate, is not happy with at least one of his Cabinet members under scrutiny for costly plane travel.

When asked whether he was planning to fire Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, the president told reporters, "We'll see."

Trump said he was "not happy" that Price reportedly has taken at least two dozen private jet flights — which cost taxpayers at least $400,000 — instead of flying on commercial aircraft.

The House Oversight Committee on Wednesday sent letters to the White House and two dozen federal agencies seeking details about senior officials using government-owned or private noncommercial aircraft for official and personal travel.

The letter, addressed to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, asks for the requested documents and information to be provided to the committee no later than October 10.

Price, an orthopedic physician and a former Georgia congressman, acknowledged during a TV interview several days ago that "the optics in some of this don't look good, and that's why we again have taken this criticism to heart."

Price, as a congressman in 2010, criticized Democrat Nancy Pelosi, who was then the House speaker, for using private aircraft to fly around the country, including to her home state of California.

Besides Price, two other Cabinet members also are facing criticism for their travel habits.

The inspector general of the Environmental Protection Agency is looking into Administrator Scott Pruitt's various trips using military aircraft and private planes instead of cheaper airline flights.

At the Treasury Department, the inspector general there is examining Secretary Steve Mnuchin's use of military aircraft, most notably a flight with his wife to Kentucky last month to view the solar eclipse and see the gold stored at the Fort Knox army post.

"Glad gold is safe," Mnuchin, a former partner of the Goldman Sachs investment bank, said on Twitter following his inspection of the repository.

At the Department of Education, Secretary Betsy DeVos also has used private jets. But Devos, who is estimated to have a net worth of $1 billion, paid for the flights herself.

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