Donald Trump ally Tom Price criticises private jet trips - then takes five of them in a week

US politician Tom Price chartered five private jets in one week to travel on business, despite being critical of them before

The Health and Human Services Secretary took journeys costing $60,000 (£44,000) of taxpayer money

Thursday, September 21, 2017

A senior US politician and ally of Donald Trump took five private jet trips in a single week - despite having criticised this mode of travel in the past.

Tom Price, the Health and Human Services Secretary, boarded flights costing an estimated $60,000 (£44,000) of taxpayers' money to fulfil political engagements. 

Politico has reported the flights took place across September 13 to 15, varying from speaking at a Q&A session in Maine to community health centre visits in Pennsylvania and New Hampshire. 

One journey included a round trip from Washington DC to nearby Philadephia, a trip of only 135 miles.

This is a break in tradition, for previous occupants of the role have always flown commercially while on official business. 

Price, who found political fame as a Republican Representative from Georgia, had previously been critical of government spending on private jets in 2009. 

He has not issued any comment on the latest reports. However, a spokesman from the US Department of Health and Human Services said private jets constituted an appropriate expense when commerical flights "cannot reasonably accommodate travel requirements."

The statement, however, did not say why Price considered commercial flights to be impractical in these circumstances.