Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price resigned Friday after criticism over his repeated use of expensive private jets instead of commercial flights, CNBC reports. Price’s traveling habits has cost taxpayers more than $1 million.
The White House in a statement said that President Donald Trump intends to offer the position, for the time being, to top HHS official, Don Wright. He currently serves as deputy assistant secretary for health and director of the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.
“Secretary of Health and Human Services Thomas Price offered his resignation earlier today and the President accepted,” the White House said in a statement.
Price’s resignation came a day after he said he would reimburse taxpayers for just a small fraction of the cost of his flights, vowing not to use charter planes in the future.
According to a Politico article, Price had taken 26 flights on charter plans since May. In a letter addressed to Trump, Price said he was tendering his resignation in order to allow the administration “to move forward without further disruption.”
“I have spent forty years both as a doctor and public servant putting people first. I regret that the recent events have created a distraction from these important objectives,” Price wrote in his letter to the President.
In June, Price traveled on a $17,760 round-trip charter from Washington to Nashville, Tennessee. He spent less than six hours there, making two official appearances and eating lunch with his son, Politico reported. In a four-day trip in September, Price took flights costing an estimated $60,000 in total.
On Wednesday, President Donald Trump said that he “wasn’t happy about Price’s use of private planes” and that “he let Price know about it.”