The Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price, has handed in his resignation after a series of stories regarding his use of chartered planes were released. President Trump has accepted his letter of resignation and appointed Don Wright the Deputy Health Secretary, to stand in as acting head of the department.
Rumors are afloat that the resignation was actually more to do with Price’s failure to get the Republican healthcare plan through. Just in July, the president joked that he would ‘be fired” if he failed.
In his resignation letter, as reported by the New York Times, Price said he was regretful that “recent events have created a distraction” from the work done by the Department of Health. He tweeted a copy of his resignation letter and thanked the president for the opportunity to serve.
— Tom Price, M.D. (@SecPriceMD) September 29, 2017
Politico broke a story concerning Price in which they said he had spent of $1 million on travel, $400,000 of which was on chartered flights. Using private planes is very much against the promises of President Trump to run a “waste-free” administration. Typically, government members are expected to travel commercial (except in cases that concern National Security), and the use of taxpayer money has caused an uproar.
Price has apologized for his plane usage and stated that he would personally pay for his flights:
“The taxpayers won’t pay a dime for my seat on those planes.”
The Real Story
Just hours before accepting Price’s resignation, the president told White House reporters that:
“He’s a very fine man. We’re going to make a decision sometime tonight.”
But would this resignation have come about if Price had succeeded in getting the Republican Healthcare plan through? Many are asking if this resignation is more about failing to deliver rather than questionable expenses.
Should this be the case, then the next head of Health and Human Services will be under a lot of pressure to perform as they take up the new role.
Deputy head Don Wright will be acting chief for now, but few expect him to retain the post. The frontrunners are thought to be either the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Seema Verma, or the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, Scott Gottlieb. Whichever candidate most wants the “troubled position” will have to set out a plan for their goals to the president.
President Trump is running his administration like a business, not for profit, but as a hierarchal structure in which those who fail to deliver what’s expected are subject to removal. And this is not a bad way to manage things. For too long, failure has been seen as part and parcel of government roles, but when success is demanded, only those with the ability to get things done will be safe from the Boss.