Trump embarrassed by his own appointees misusing taxpayers’ money

The New York Times reports: After being rebuked by President Trump for racking up at least $400,000 in travel on chartered flights, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said on Thursday that he would pay back taxpayers for his part of the bill and stop flying on private jets.

But that does not mean his job is safe.

Mr. Trump has grown incensed by Mr. Price’s liberal renting of expensive planes, which he views as undercutting his drain-the-swamp campaign message, according to several administration officials with direct knowledge of the president’s thinking. Through intermediaries and the media, Mr. Trump has let it be known that offering reimbursement as repentance was no guarantee that Mr. Price would keep his job.

On Thursday, Mr. Price tried anyway.

“I look forward to gaining, regaining the trust that the American people, some of the American people, may have lost in the activities that I took,” Mr. Price said in an appearance on “Special Report with Bret Baier” on Fox News.

Mr. Price called Mr. Trump “a remarkable leader,” and said the president had expressed displeasure to him “very clearly.” [Continue reading…]

The Washington Post reports: Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke chartered a flight from Las Vegas to near his home in Montana this summer aboard a plane owned by oil-and-gas executives, internal documents show.

The flight, along with private flights during a trip to the Virgin Islands, could propel Zinke into the growing debate over the costs of travel by Cabinet secretaries, some of whom have chosen expensive charter jets and military planes at high expense to taxpayers over the cheaper option of flying commercial.

In June, Zinke and his staffers took a four-hour flight from Las Vegas to Kalispell, Mont., aboard a private plane owned by the executives of a Wyoming oil-and-gas exploration firm, aviation and business records show.

The landing in Kalispell put Zinke a short drive from his home in Whitefish, Mont., where he spent the night, documents show.

The flight cost taxpayers $12,375, according to an Interior Department spokeswoman. Commercial airlines run daily flights between the two airports and charge as little as $300. [Continue reading…]

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