Oh ok, here’s 12.5 cents on the dollar

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, surprised and a little hurt at the reaction to his habit of chartering planes every time he wants to go anywhere, even if it’s to Philly and the train would get there faster, says he’ll pay us back for the cost of his seat. Not for the cost of the flights, mind you, just for his seat. That would be a fair arrangement if a seat had been all it took to get him there, but the point is that he chartered whole entire planes, so that’s what he owes us for, minus the cost of a normal ticket.

He says he would also like to keep his job, please.

In a statement released on Thursday, he said, “Today, I will write a personal check to the US Treasury for the expenses of my travel on private charter planes. The taxpayers won’t pay a dime for my seat on those planes.”

The expense for his seat on those planes comes out to $51,887.31, according to an HHS spokesperson.

Politico has reported that the total cost of the private jets Price flew on was more than $400,000 and included trips to places where he has friends and family. Price is not covering the cost for support staff and others who flew with him on those charter planes, staff who otherwise would have flown commercial.

But hey, he’s paying 1/8 of the cost, so can’t we just accept that and be grateful? Why are we so grudging?

“What the Secretary has done is say that while all of this travel was approved by legal and HHS officials, the Secretary has heard the taxpayers’ concerns and wants to be responsive to them,” the HHS spokesperson said. “That’s why he’s taking the unprecedented step of reimbursing the government for his share of the travel.”

Ooh, special! Only, the trouble is, all the chartering of planes to go visit family is also unprecedented, and it came first, and he’s not paying it all back. So.

In his statement, Price made it clear he hopes to keep his job. “I have spent forty years both as a doctor and in public service putting people first,” Price said. “It has been my personal honor to serve the American people, and I look forward to continuing that service.”

But he’s working for Trump, so it’s not possible to believe that thing about putting people first. Sorry.

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