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Trump comments mean Price's private plane abuse may cost him his job

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President Donald Trump expressed his displeasure with Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price on Wednesday over Price's use of private jets for work-related travel. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

"We'll see," is all President Donald Trump would say Wednesday when asked by reporters whether he would fire Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price for excessive use of private jets at the expense of taxpayers.

“I was looking into it and I will look into it. And I will tell you personally, I'm not happy about it,” Trump said. “I am not happy about it. I'm going to look at it. I am not happy about it, and I let him know it.”

It's not a full condemnation, but the comments don't bode well for the job security for Price after a week of harsh publicity on his luxurious travel habits.

Perks of the job?

Last Tuesday, a Politico report revealed that Price took five private jet flights between Sept. 13 and 15, which cost tens of thousands of dollars more than commercial flights for the same travel. He has incurred more than $400,000 in charter flights since May.

In many of the instances of private travel, commercial flights were available that would have fit within his required travel schedule and saved thousands of dollars.

Previous HHS secretaries flew commercial for domestic travel.

Fiscally conservative...when it comes to others

What he was doing isn't illegal; it's just hypocritical when contrasted with his documented stances on fiscal matters and federal waste, including his take on funding for private jets. Just this year he has proposed spending cuts to his own department, as well as the National Institute of Health.

“Our goal is to … [try] to decrease the areas where there are either duplications, redundancies or waste … and get a larger return for the investment of the American taxpayer," Price said earlier this year, according to Politico.

A promise to change?

Price said over the weekend he's going to stop flying private on the taxpayer dime, but he's already under formal review by the inspector general and on notice by the president, so it might be too little, too late.

“We’ve heard the criticism. We’ve heard the concerns. We take that very seriously and have taken it to heart,” Price said to Fox News.

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