Of all the oligarch wannabes in the Trump administration, none is trying as hard as Tom Price to be politically corrupt, morally reprehensible and personally detestable.
Price, a doctor who has questioned the value of federal vaccine regulations, was one of the leading crusaders for the now failed effort to rip away health insurance from tens of millions of people. These views of indignation against Obamacare didn’t stop him from insider trading while he was a member of Congress and profiting handsomely (in the six figures) from stocks that he was regulating in Congressional committees.
Price didn’t only see Medicaid as a misuse of taxpayer dollars, he also decried the use of private jets by Congress. With that said, it was surprising when it came to light this week that for a man who hates the use of private jets by public officials, Tom Price has made ample use of private jets as a public official.
It’s actually not surprising at all. Rather than drain the swamp, Trump has filled it with some of the most contemptible, second-rate hucksters history has ever seen.
Price found tech industry excuses for his luxury travel. Need to go see his son in Nashville? There’s a private jet for that (even though a regular flight from DC to Nashville takes the same amount of time and costs just over $200). Need to go to an opioid ravaged community? There’s a private jet for that. Need to go to an indigenous reservation? There’s a private jet for that too.
It’s not just some of the poorest places in America that Price arrives at in a Gulfstream. Price also took special private jets for his overseas trips: military planes to be specific. These planes, which took him to Europe and Asia were even more expensive than his private U.S. flights, bringing the total cost of his travel to over $1 million in taxpayer dollars.
Price put the cherry on this shiitake Sundae by kindly informing the taxpaying public that he would pay the cost of “his seat” on the private planes that were chartered for his use. It’s $51,000 of an over $1 million dollar tab. That’s like saying you’ll pay the cost of your meal of a three course meal for you and twenty friends paid for by the taxpaying public.
Price is the most nakedly corrupt, shameless aristocrat in Trumpland this week, but once the construction of his soundproof booth is complete, I’m sure Scott Pruitt won’t be far behind.