President Trump on Wednesday publicly chided Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price over his private plane trips, on the heels of new reports about his charter flights and fresh scrutiny from Capitol Hill.
"I’m not happy about it, and I let him know it,” the president said of Price while speaking to reporters at the White House.
Asked if he will fire Price, Trump replied, “We’ll see,” according to a pool report.
Last week, it was revealed that Price flew on charters to visit community health centers in New Hampshire and Pennsylvania. One leg was from Dulles International Airport in the Washington suburbs to Philadelphia International Airport, a distance of 135 miles.
Politico reported Tuesday that he also took a government-funded private jet in August to St. Simons Island, a Georgia resort where his family owns land, ahead of an address at a medical conference.
On Wednesday morning, the House Oversight Committee also announced it is “examining the extent to which non-career officials at federal departments and agencies either use government-owned aircraft for official travel or private non-commercial aircraft for official travel.”
A letter to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly -- from Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings, D-Md. -- didn’t specifically cite Price but requested information on such flights to ensure “responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars.”
In an interview on Fox News on Saturday, Price acknowledged “the optics in some of this don’t look good” and promised to stop flying private on official business until a review by the HHS inspector general's office is done.
“I don’t think there will be any charter trips until this review is complete," Price told host Leland Vittert on Fox News’ "America's News Headquarters." "I think that’s appropriate because of the concerns that we’ve heard.”
On Saturday, Price said the private plane travel is not the norm for him.
“We’ve taken many, many trips in cars, sometimes four and five hours at a time,” he said. “So this isn’t the routine. These were 11 trips about an eight-month period of time.”
Price was a key figure in the Trump administration's push to overhaul ObamaCare. But, while Trump indicates he's going to keep fighting for a bill, the latest Senate Republican legislation collapsed on Tuesday for lack of support, after a prior effort collapsed over the summer.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.