Tom Price's sense of entitlement is boundless, and his spin is even worse, as he continues to soak U.S. taxpayers.
Donald Trump’s "Drain the swamp" campaign pledge already stands among the great cons in American politics. His vow was buried right after the election when he swung open the White House doors to Goldman Sachs executives.
But it’s been the recent handy work of Trump’s Health and Human Services Secretary, former Georgia Rep. Tom Price, that has truly solidified a place in hypocrisy history for Trump's promise.
Price can’t stop billing U.S. taxpayers for his private, chartered jet travel, even though most government officials like him aren’t supposed to make Americans foot the bill for such things — like luxury aircraft that come complete with high-backed leather chairs and kitchens.
Price has taken at least 24 such flights over the last four months, Politico reports.
Incredibly, Price even took a $25,000 flight from Washington, D.C., to Philadelphia recently. Keep in mind, Joe Biden for decades famously commuted between Washington, D.C. and his home in Delaware by riding Amtrak everyday.
As Philadelphia columnist Will Bunch noted, "You have to work hard to spend $25K to go from DC to Philly."
After a week-long pile-on, Price’s flak finally explained that Price needs to fly around in private luxury because that’s how he stays in touch with the working man.
No joke. From the Washington Post:
"This is Secretary Price, getting outside of D.C., making sure he is connected with the real American people," said Charmaine Yoest, his assistant secretary for public affairs. "Wasting four hours in an airport and having the secretary cancel his event is not a good use of taxpayer money."
Because nothing says staying in touch with real Americans like flying in private jets in order to avoid standing in lines at U.S. airports or suffering the indignity of having a flight delayed.
The hypocrisy borders on the grotesque when you consider Price is touting a draconian budget proposal that would eliminate $6 billion from the National Institutes of Health. And that’s just one dangerous example.
Here’s another gaping hole in the spin-control argument that Tom Price’s time is simply too valuable for him to be standing around in airports and (gasp) possibly having his flight canceled: If that’s the case for Price, than why isn’t every Trump cabinet member skipping round in private jets? Why isn’t every senior government official, including every member of Congress, taking costly private flights in order to save time, and then demanding taxpayers pick up the tab?
Meaning, what makes Tom Price so special that he gets to establish unique and expensive travel guideline for himself?
Answer: There isn’t anything special about Price, except perhaps his sense of entitlement and the self-aggrandizing notion that taxpayers should be paying $25,000 for him to take 30-minute flights.