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As GOP claims nation can’t afford healthcare, HHS Sec took 5 private jets to US destinations — in just one week

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Donald Trump’s Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price last week took five separate flights on private jets, costing “tens of thousands of dollars” more in travel expenditures than his predecessors would have by using commercial options, Politico reports.

In a move that broke with precedent, Price jet set on corporate-style planes to Maine, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, despite the Trump administration’s pledge to cut government waste.

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“Tough choices had to be made to identify and reduce spending within the department,” Price told Congress when he pushed to cut his own department’s budget by 18 percent. “Our goal is …. to decrease the areas where there are either duplications, redundancies or waste.”

One of the areas where there is apparently not redundancy or waste is in Price’s own travel arrangements, even as commercial plane, train and bus routes would have taken the HHS secretary to each of the aforementioned areas for a fraction of the cost.

Kathleen Sebelius, who served as HHS secretary under former President Barack Obama, told Politico she only took private planes to remote areas that required chartered aviation.

“The basic rules that our scheduling team worked under were, you flew commercial and you flew economy,” Sebelius said. “That’s just what they did.”

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In a statement, a HHS spokesperson insisted “official travel by the secretary is done in complete accordance with Federal Travel Regulations.”

Former director of the United States Office of Government Ethics Walter Shaub, who resigned in protest in July, called Price’s conduct “wasteful,” saying it violates the “spirit” of Federal Travel Regulations.

“I can understand why the secretary might have to use a charter flight to get to a hurricane-devastated region, but Philadelphia is not one of those regions this year,” Shaub told Politico. “I find it hard to believe he couldn’t find a suitable commercial flight to Philadelphia.”

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“Public office isn’t supposed to come with frivolous perks at taxpayer expense,” Shaub said.

“As part of the HHS mission to enhance and protect the health and well-being of the American people, Secretary Price travels on occasion outside Washington to meet face to face with the American people to hear their thoughts and concerns firsthand,” an HHS spokesperson told Politico. “When commercial aircraft cannot reasonably accommodate travel requirements, charter aircraft can be used for official travel.”

In 2009, Price posted a clip to YouTube of himself blasting Democrats for using private jets.

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Watch that clip below:

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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2020 Election

Ex-Trump official bashes White House ‘apologists’ who haven’t quit yet: ‘There’s not much hope for them’

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A report on the silence coming from first daughter Ivanka Trump and her White House advisor husband Jared Kushner after Donald Trump attacked American Jews turned to the future of White House aides who are either complicit in the president's policies or stand idly by as he lurches from controversy to controversy.

In an interview with CNN's Brianna Keilar, former Trump adviser J.W. Verret pointed out there are still some "adults in the room" with Trump, but CNN's Kaitlan Collins first pointed out that -- as of late -- Ivanka and Kushner are not among them.

"This fits a pattern that we've seen from Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump at times during times when the administration tried to repeal parts of Obamacare, and of course, the big one the president has made about Jewish people who are supporting Democrats," Collins explained. "Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump are both Orthodox Jews. They've been involved with the president on many things. but neither of them have said anything publicly about the president's comments. and when we asked the white house have they been advising the president privately on this, the White House did not get back to us."

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Saudi doctor yanked from flight after woman freaks out over his ‘see you on the other side’ remark

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A Muslim doctor was removed from an American Airlines flight out of Florida after a woman misunderstood a remark he made to his wife in a phone call.

Abdulaziz Al Mana, a medical resident at Miami's Jackson Memorial Hospital, was flying in June to Washington, D.C., to visit his wife when he noticed the woman seated next to him acting nervously as the plane taxied onto the runway, reported the Miami New Times.

The woman slipped a note to a flight attendant, and the captain then announced the plane would be turned around for a passenger emergency.

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Trump thinks he’s ‘the chosen one’ for one really preposterous reason

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Even for a bottomless pit of narcissism like Donald Trump, Wednesday was an exceptional day for self-aggrandizement. Early in the day, Trump tweeted quotes from one of his more sycophantic — and unhinged — followers, Wayne Allyn Root, calling Trump the "King of Israel" and "the second coming of God." Later that day, when speaking to reporters, Trump embraced the prophet identity again, calling himself "the Chosen One," in response to a question about trade dealings with China.

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