Trump telling associates that Price has become a distraction: report

Trump telling associates that Price has become a distraction: report

President Trump has reportedly told people close to him that Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom PriceThomas (Tom) Edmunds PriceOvernight Health Care: CEO of largest private health insurer slams 'Medicare for All' plans | Dem bill targets youth tobacco use | CVS fined over fake painkiller prescriptions | Trump, first lady to discuss opioid crisis at summit HHS inspector general stepping down from watchdog role Ex-GOP lawmaker Handel to run for her former Georgia seat in 2020 MORE has become a distraction to the administration's agenda after it was revealed Price racked up several hundred thousand dollars in private charter flights for official business.

Trump has told figures around him that Price's actions have undermined the president's vow to "drain the swamp" and he believes the media coverage of Price's flights has turned attention away from the administration's tax-reform push, The Associated Press reported Friday.

Separately, Trump told reporters at the White House on Friday that Price is a "fine man" but said he would make a decision on the secretary's future in the administration later in the day.

ADVERTISEMENT

Trump said earlier this week that he was "not happy" with the revelations surrounding Price's flights. He declined to rule out firing Price on Wednesday, saying, "We'll see."

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also refused to say Thursday whether Price would keep his administration post, saying only that he administration would conduct a review.

Price said Thursday he looks forward to regaining the president's trust after pledging to write a personal check to the Treasury Department to reimburse taxpayers for a portion of the flight costs.

"I work at the pleasure of the president. The president is a remarkable leader. I'm incredibly privileged to serve in his Cabinet and work on behalf of the American people," Price told Fox News.

"I look forward to gaining, regaining, the trust that the American people — some of the American people — may have lost in the activities that I took. And to not only regain the trust of the American people, but to gain the trust of the administration and the president," Price said.

Price is one of four of Trump's Cabinet members to face scrutiny for their travel since taking office.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt are also facing scrutiny for their use of private aircraft for government business in recent days.

The Washington Post reported on Friday that Veterans Affairs Secretary David ShulkinDavid Jonathon ShulkinTrump sent policy pitch from Mar-a-Lago member to VA secretary: report Is a presidential appointment worth the risk? It’s time to end the scare tactics and get to work for our veterans MORE spent nearly half his time on a recent international trip sightseeing and shopping with his wife, who had her airfare paid for by the government.