Secretary Tom Price Just Last Week Spent $60,000 on Private Planes at Taxpayer Expense
Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price last week spent $25,000 of the taxpayers’ money on a private chartered 30-seat plane for a trip from DC to Philadelphia that would have taken two-and-a-half hoursÂ to drive in a government SUV at a cost of just $46 in gas and tolls. If the Secretary didn’t want to drive, he could have spent $72 on Amtrak, or evenÂ $447 to $725 to fly commercially.
Politico has beenÂ investigatingÂ Secretary Price’s travel, noting the $25,000 flight was just one of at least five, and possibly many more, that violateÂ guidelines for federal officials that state “taxpayers should pay no more than necessary for your transportation.” Each of those five private flights cost taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars more than flying coach would have cost taxpayers. The five trips cost taxpayers an estimated $60,000.
Here’s the photo op Secretary Price posted from the trip that cost Americans $25,000 in just air travel:
â€” Tom Price, M.D. (@SecPriceMD) September 15, 2017
Secretary Price is a former Republican U.S. Congressman from Georgia. His voting record placesÂ him in the “hard coreÂ conservative” tank, as far to the right on economic issues as possible. In short, he claims to be a fiscal conservative, and has promised to slash spending at the federal agencies he controls.
And like many Trump officials, Secretary Price has been anything but transparent about his work or his travel.
“Current and former staffers, speaking on the condition of anonymity, say Price has been taking private jets to travel domestically for months,” Politico reports, adding thatÂ Secretary Price and his spokesperson refused to comment.
â€œI 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,â€ Walter Shaub, the former director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, told Politico. â€œI find it hard to believe he couldnâ€™t find a suitable commercial flight to Philadelphia.â€
â€œThis wasteful conduct reflects disdain for the ethical principle of treating public service as a public trust,â€ said Shaub. â€œPublic office isnâ€™t supposed to come with frivolous perks at taxpayer expense.â€
Indeed, Politico also interviewed several Obama-era officials to determine if Price’s travel arrangement were standard.
They are anything but.
Former staffers for Obama-eraÂ Health and Human Services Secretaries Kathleen Sebelius and Sylvia Burwell told Politico that almost without exception not only did the two cabinet secretaries always fly commercially, they always flew coach.
â€œThe basic rules that our scheduling team worked under were, you flew commercial and you flew economy,â€ former Secretary Sebelius told Politico. â€œThatâ€™s just what they did.â€
Staff for Burwell and Sebelius said booking even a single charter flight was, in the words of one, a â€œnon-starterâ€ within the department. For example, for last yearâ€™s Obamacare enrollment kick-off, HHS staff had planned a multi-city tour for Burwell to urge Americans to sign up for coverage. The effort, which would have required charter aircraft, was ultimately scrapped because of its estimated $60,000 cost.
“We were worried about the optics and the cost to taxpayers,â€ said one former staffer involved in the planning.
In any other administration this would be considered a scandal and there would be calls for Price to resign.
Here’s how one conservative pundit weighed in:
26 years ago a White House chief of staff was ousted because he took a car to New York. A CAR.
â€” John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) September 20, 2017
Politico’s Dan Diamond tweets out a photo of the plane that cost Price decided was worth $25,000 of taxpayers’ money for a few hours roundtrip:
â€” Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) September 20, 2017
Some more responses via Twitter:
â€” Sen. Maggie Hassan (@SenatorHassan) September 20, 2017
Really, @SecPriceMD a charter for a DC to Philadelphia flight?
Joe Biden would still take Amtrak to Wilmington when he was vice president!
â€” Niels Lesniewski (@nielslesniewski) September 20, 2017
DC to Philadelphia*:
Car: $50 gas/tolls
Acela train: $240
United plane: $450
Private jet: See below
*Approximate, round trips https://t.co/V5FqL7pKm0
â€” Tim Hanrahan (@TimJHanrahan) September 20, 2017
â€” Adam Smith (@asmith83) September 20, 2017
â€” ALTðŸ›‚ Immigration (@ALT_uscis) September 20, 2017
We can’t make sure all Americans have healthcare, but we can provide rich people private planes. Nice.
â€” Laura Bradley (@LauranLafayette) September 20, 2017
Yes .. let’s cut medical coverage for tens of millions of Americans so you can fly in style
â€” Rosemary Garvin (@rosemary52) September 20, 2017
I’m sick of these elitist free loaders. When Trump is tossed,everyone in his administration needs to be tossed too.
â€” COLTSFAN4EVER35 (@coltsfan4life28) September 20, 2017
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Image via Tom Price/Twitter
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Pete Buttigieg Brilliantly Destroys Tucker Carlson After Fox Host’s Homophobic Hit Job
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg responded to Fox News host Tucker Carlson‘s vile, homophobic attack from Thursday night, by defending the right of every new parent to take paternity or maternity leave and spend time building bonds that will last a lifetime.
Buttigieg, known for being able to incisively carve up conservative hate, had no problem correcting Carlson’s claims.
Carlson, who regularly spreads white nationalistic, white supremacist, and fascistic rhetoric that clearly is supported by Fox News chiefs Rupert Murdoch and Lachlan Murdoch, on Thursday berated Buttigieg for taking paternity leave as he and his husband, Chasten welcome two newborn twins into their family.
“Pete Buttigieg has been on leave from his job since August after adopting a child,” Carlson had told Fox news viewers. “Paternity leave, they call it, trying to figure out how to breastfeed – no word on how that went.”
Buttigieg struck back on Friday, telling MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace Carlson’s “attack is coming from a guy who has yet to explain his apparent approval for the assassination of Harvey Milk.”
Carlson, in his college yearbook, reportedly wrote that he was a member of the “Dan White Society.” There is no Dan White Society, but Dan White is the man who assassinated Harvey Milk, one of America’s first openly-gay elected officials. At the same time, in 1978, he also assassinated San Francisco Mayor George Moscone.
“So, you know, obviously we know that there’s some dark places where some of these attitudes come from,” Buttigieg continued.
“But I also note that that doesn’t speak for the country,” he said of Carlson’s homophobic and anti-family remark.
“I don’t think that even speaks for most people, on the other side of the aisle from the party that I belong to. This is largely a consensus issue, not just the support for families like mine to have a right to marry and right to be treated equally, but also that families in general. Moms and dads have to be able to support their children including with paid leave.”
Buttigieg, as NCRM reported Thursday night, is correct: 86% of Americans support paid paternity leave. And seven out of 10 Americans support same-sex marriage. Sadly, U.S. federal law does not require companies to offer it, but as Wallace noted, Tucker Carlson’s employer does.
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) October 15, 2021
‘We Warned You’: Jenna Ellis Destroyed by Legal Expert for Comparing Herself and Giuliani to Atticus Finch
Former Trump personal and campaign lawyer Jenna Ellis is getting blowback from at least one top legal expert after she falsely compared herself and her colleague, Rudy Giuliani, to fictional hero attorney Atticus Finch from “To Kill a Mockingbird,” and to founding father John Adams.
“No, you are not John Adams. You are not Atticus Finch. Competent lawyers warned you to stay away from the election lawsuits,” said top national security attorney Bradley Moss. “We warned you loyalty to a conspiratorial client [doesn’t] override ethical obligations to the court. It’s on you.”
Ellis, in video posted by Right Wing Watch (below), claimed that she and Giuliani were merely “advocating” for “politically inconvenient candidates” like Trump, which is provably false.
Giuliani, according to numerous news reports, wasn’t defending Trump so much as he was traveling the world trying to dig up dirt on Joe Biden to help Trump win re-election. When that didn’t work Giuliani (and Ellis) promoted false election “fraud” narratives, which is not advocacy for a client.
“It used to be that if you represented the politically inconvenient candidates or the, the politically inconvenient, people I mean look at ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ you know, it was like you were you were lauded as a defense attorney, like John Adams, you know, who represented people who deserve a defense,” Ellis said.
“This has such an impact on the future of America,” Ellis continued, “because if we tell lawyers that in order to advocate for a client, that means that necessarily you have to subscribe to their position, you will be you will be liable for your bar license essentially based on not only the merit of their case but the outcome, then we won’t have advocates anymore in the United States.”
Jenna Ellis complains that she and Rudy Giuliani are being smeared for working for Trump and promoting his bogus stolen elections claims, likening their efforts to John Adams defending British soldiers in the Boston Massacre or Atticus Finch in “To Kill A Mockingbird.” pic.twitter.com/9n1xjdr6m7
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) October 15, 2021
Again, that is not a reality-based response to what she and Giuliani were doing.
Moss, meanwhile, was far from the only attorney criticizing Ellis.
Former Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York (SDNY), Richard Signorelli, commented, “Jenna is lucky she wasn’t given any actual lawyerly responsibilities.”
Atlanta appellate attorney Andrew Fleischman weighed in, saying, “It’s good for people to get due process before being convicted of things. It’s bad to file dozens of frivolous, dishonest lawsuits. That’s the distinction.”
Trump’s MAGA Supporters Chant Profanities Within ‘Clear’ Earshot of Young Kids Biden Was Talking to Outdoors
Trump’s MAGA supporters were out in full force Friday afternoon, chanting “F**k Biden,” waving flags with the same slogan, along with ones that falsely claim “Trump won,” as President Joe Biden spoke with young children outside a Connecticut child development center.
— Karine Jean-Pierre (@KJP46) October 15, 2021
Getting a little rowdy as more protesters show up with Trump flags and “F*uck Biden” flags. pic.twitter.com/k7qFJp4Iw0
— Eric Bedner (@BednerEric) October 15, 2021
“Around 50 more Trump supporters,” according to the White House press pool, “gathered a street away from the center. They chanted ‘F*** Joe Biden. He’s not our president.’ They also shouted ‘traitors’ as a coda while we walked inside.”
Minutes later the press pool reported President Biden “entered the playground at 1:25, greeted by some gregarious children. One gave him a hug, as he kneeled to talk. Another, wearing an American flag t-shirt, pointed out parts of the playground.”
Biden greets kids in the playground at the Capitol Child Development Center in Hartford, Connecticut. pic.twitter.com/YfGCndt3NV
— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) October 15, 2021
But then, confirmation that the Trump supporters’ profanity could be heard by the young children and the President.
“From the playground the pool could still hear protesters chanting from the curb outside. More expletives. More yelling,” the pool reports.
NBC News White House Correspondent Mike Memoli also confirms:
Per radio pool, while @POTUS spent time meeting toddlers at an outdoor playground, Trump supporters gathered across street could be clearly heard shouting a now-familiar expletive phrase involving his name
— Mike Memoli (@mikememoli) October 15, 2021
President Biden later made televised remarks promoting his “Build Back Better” agenda, and talking about how improvements to infrastructure will help young children.
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