White House outlines travel rules for Trump Cabinet members
The White House issued a memo to members of President Trump’s Cabinet on Friday outlining rules for travel after the president’s health secretary Tom Price resigned following backlash over his use of private jets for official business.
“Government-owned, rented, leased, or chartered aircraft should not be used for travel by Government employees, except with specific justification – per the Office of Management and Budget,” Mick Mulvaney, the director of the office, wrote in the memo dated Friday.
“Every penny we spend comes from the taxpayer. We thus owe it to the taxpayer to work as hard managing that money wisely as the taxpayer must do to earn it in the first place,” he continued.
Department and agency heads traveling on government-owned or leased planes or chartered aircraft for trips outside their official “mission requirement” will need approval from White House chief of staff John Kelly, Mulvaney said.
The White House budget chief said that “just because something is legal doesn’t make it right,” adding that “with few exceptions, the commercial air system used by millions of Americans every day is appropriate, even for very senior officials.”
Various members of the president’s Cabinet are under fire for their travel since taking public office, with Price on Friday resigning as head of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) after it was revealed he traveled on private jets for work, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt are also facing questions about their use of private aircraft for government business, while Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin 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, The Washington Post reported.