Tom Price Resigns as Health and Human Services Secretary


HHS Secretary Tom Price
HHS Secretary Tom Price / Getty Images
September 29, 2017

Tom Price resigned his post as secretary of health and human services on Friday afternoon amid backlash over his travel on private planes.

President Donald Trump accepted Price's resignation and will name Don Wright, who currently serves as deputy assistant secretary for health and director of the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, as the department's acting secretary, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

"Secretary of Health and Human Services Thomas Price offered his resignation earlier today and the president accepted," Sanders said. "The president intends to designate Don J. Wright of Virginia to serve as acting secretary, effective at 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 29, 2017."

"I have spent forty years both as a doctor and public servant putting people first," Price wrote in his letter of resignation. "I regret that the recent events have created a distraction from these important objectives. Success on these issues is more important than any one person. In order for you to move forward without further disruption, I am officially tendering my resignation."

Price further reassured Trump that he would "continue to support" Trump's priorities going forward.

Price came under fire last week when reports revealed that he flew on several private charter planes at taxpayers' expense this year for government and personal business. Several of the domestic routes he took were accessible by commercial means.

Price also used military aircraft approved by the White House for multi-national trips to Africa and Europe this spring, and to Asia in the summer, that cost taxpayers more than $500,000, Politico reported Thursday.

The now-former Cabinet member's total travel costs since May exceed $1 million. Price apologized Thursday for his use of private charter planes and said he would write a personal check to the U.S. Treasury to cover the cost of his trips. He told Fox News on Thursday night that his trips on private charter jets were "approved through the normal process."

Trump said Wednesday that he was "not happy" with Price and planned "to look at" his activities. When asked whether he was considering firing Price, Trump responded, "We'll see."

On Friday, Trump told reporters he was going to make a decision sometime Friday night on Price's future. The White House announced Price's resignation about an hour later.

This story is developing and will be updated as more information becomes available.