Politics can be the opposite of medicine: In politics, when an acute problem becomes chronic, that’s when it’s fatal.
When it was clear Friday that Dr. Tom Price’s condition had changed from acute to chronic — that the scandal over his pricey charter flights wasn’t going away — it was time to pull the plug.
And for good reason. POLITICO.com recently exposed the secretary of Health and Human Services’ use of “at least 26 charter flights costing taxpayers more than $400,000” — part of a total travel bill since May of over $1 million.
Despite claims to the contrary, Price had no good excuse. Reports POLITICO: “Price took a government-funded private jet in August to get to a Georgia resort where he and his wife own land.”
A former Georgia congressman, Price also hadn’t been able to shepherd an Obamacare repeal through; his absence at key administration strategy sessions was more notable than his presence; and his opulent travel spending has prompted an investigation by the HHS Inspector General as well as a widened investigation of administration travel habits by a congressional committee.
What in the world was Price thinking? His fancy-pants travel was way out of keeping with a conservative Republican’s credo of limited government and efficiency.
As the Associated Press put it, Price “is a past chairman of the House Budget Committee, where he was a frequent critic of wasteful spending.” You can’t have Cabinet secretaries living in glass houses.
Others in the Trump administration must remind themselves they need to live up to the conservative principles they espouse.