Pelosi: 'Price should never have been in this role in the first place'

Pelosi: 'Price should never have been in this role in the first place'
© Greg Nash

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) reacted to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom PriceThomas (Tom) Edmunds PricePress: Acosta, latest to walk the plank 'I alone can fix it,' Trump said, but has he? Chaotic Trump transition leaks: Debates must tackle how Democrats will govern differently MORE's resignation on Friday by condemning the Trump administration for selecting him "in the first place."

Price became the first Trump Cabinet member to resign on Friday after a Politico investigation revealed he had spent more than $1 million in taxpayer dollars on private charter flights.

In a statement first reported by MSNBC Friday afternoon, Pelosi wrote that Americans deserve a HHS secretary who believes in "healthcare for all Americans."

"Secretary Price should never have been in this role in the first place," Pelosi said. "The American people deserve a Secretary of Health and Human Services who believes in healthcare for all Americans."

The California Democrat went on to blast President Trump and Republicans for their attempts to "sabotage" ObamaCare for political gain.

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"It's time for this Administration to work with Democrats to improve and update the Affordable Care Act," she added. "This pivot should start with the nomination of a new secretary who will stop this Administration's sabotage of hard-working Americans' health care."

Pelosi's criticism is a sharp contrast with a statement issued by House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanOcasio-Cortez top aide emerges as lightning rod amid Democratic feud Juan Williams: GOP in a panic over Mueller House Republicans dismissive of Paul Ryan's take on Trump MORE (R-Wisc.), who had knocked Price's use of private charter flights but praised the former Georgia lawmaker on Friday as a "superb" HHS secretary.

"Tom Price is a good man," Ryan said Friday in a statement. "He has spent his entire adult life fighting for others, first as a physician and then as a legislator and public servant. He was a leader in the House and a superb health secretary."

In a letter explaining his resignation on Friday, Price wrote that he regretted that "recent events" had become a distraction from his job.

"I have spent forty years both as a doctor and public servant putting people first. I regret that the recent events have created a distraction from these important objectives," Price said in his resignation letter.