Trump's cutback-crazed health secretary loves billing private jets to the US taxpayer

Obama's cabinet secretaries flew commercial or took the train, with a few, rare exceptions that were approved at the highest level, but Trump's aptly named Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price sure loves to charter private jets and bill them to the US government.

Last week, Price chartered five jets, including flights that took off and landed at the same time as commercial flights to and from the same airport.

Price was flying to industry summits where he was discussing his policies with industry executives, which his spokesman described as "meet[ing] face to face with the American people to hear their thoughts and concerns firsthand."

Price has announced plans to cut "hundreds of billions" in spending on health and housing. He calls this making "tough choices."

• Price and staff took a private charter that left Dulles that Wednesday at 2:26 p.m. and arrived in Waterville, Maine, at 3:37 p.m., where he then traveled to the Point Lookout resort and spent the night.

• On Thursday, Sept. 14, Price held a fireside chat with the CEO of athenahealth at the Point Lookout resort. He then took a private jet that departed Waterville, Maine, at 11:41 a.m. and arrived in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, at 12:09 p.m. for a scheduled visit to nearby Goodwin Community Health Center.

• Later on Thursday, Price made an announcement about grants for fighting the opioid epidemic, after which he took a private jet that left Portsmouth at 2:34 p.m. and arrived at Washington Dulles at 3:45 p.m.

• On Sept. 15, Price, accompanied by White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, left Dulles aboard a charter at 8:27 a.m. and touched down at Philadelphia International Airport at 9:01 a.m. for a scheduled visit to Mirmont Treatment Center, a local addiction treatment facility.

• Also on Sept. 15, Price, Conway and other staff departed Philadelphia aboard a charter plane at 12:39 p.m. and touched down at Dulles at 1:19 p.m., where the plane was met on the tarmac by two SUVs and a police escort.

The round trip to the Philadelphia airport, which is about 15 miles from Mirmont Treatment Center, where Price and Conway met with staff and patients — cost about $25,000, an official with the charter agency told POLITICO.

Price’s private-jet travel breaks precedent [Dan Diamond and Rachana Pradhan/Politico]

(via Naked Capitalism)