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  • SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Lawmakers voiced criticism and support after President Trump asked his embattled Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price to resign on Friday.Price faced sharp rebukes this week for repeatedly chartering private jets on trips that mixed government work with personal business.Trump told ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl on Friday that he was "not happy" with Price, before making the final decision to ask for his resignation.Trump said the now-former secretary's offer to pay back just $52,000 for the chartered flights was "unacceptable."Reaction from Congress continues, but many Democratic lawmakers have jumped on the news criticizing Price via social media.The few Republicans commenting on Price’s firing include House Speaker Paul Ryan, who defended the former secretary’s leadership on health care policy, calling him "a good man.""He was a leader in the House and a superb health secretary," Ryan said in a statement. "His vision and hard work were vital to the House’s success passing our health care legislation."Following Ryan’s response to the firing, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley expressed his hope that Trump “will stress the importance” of avoiding “unnecessary or expensive travel.”“Those who work for the taxpayers need to get the most bang for the buck at all times,” Grassley said.Senator Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., who is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, wrote in a statement: “I understand and respect Tom Price’s decision, but the news is disappointing. He has had a distinguished career as a physician and public health advocate, and I hope I have the opportunity to work with him again."
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  • Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Tom Price, President Donald Trump’s secretary of Health and Human Services, resigned from his post on Friday after it was revealed that he had repeatedly chartered private planes for government travel.A senior-level source with direct knowledge of the situation told ABC News that Trump asked Price for his resignation.In a letter to Trump, Price wrote that he regretted that "recent events have created a distraction" from the administration's objectives, and that he was resigning in order for the president "to move forward without further disruption." "Secretary of Health and Human Services Thomas Price offered his resignation earlier Friday and the president accepted," read a statement from White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, adding that Trump intends to designate Don Wright, the current deputy assistant secretary for health and director of the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion as acting secretary.The revelation about Price's trips drew widespread criticism from Democrats and an investigation was launched last week by the HHS Office of Inspector General. Price took as many as 26 private flights and flew on military planes on trips to Europe and Africa at an estimated cost to taxpayers of over $1 million, according to Politico.Earlier in the day, Trump teased a decision on Price's status to reporters, saying would decide by the end of the day whether he might fire the secretary. He repeated that he was "not happy" about the secretary's travel, a position he first shared Wednesday.On Thursday, Price expressed regret over his trips and pledged to reimburse the government for his portion of the cost of the chartered jets.The resignation comes three days after Senate Republicans announced they would not hold a vote this week on the party's latest attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, the Graham-Cassidy bill. Price played an integral role in promoting the administration's thus far unsuccessful efforts to roll back the Democratic health care legislation passed under the Obama administration.Last Friday, the HHS Office of Inspector General confirmed its inquiry into Price's flights, noting it was focused "on whether the travel complied with Federal Travel Regulations, but may encompass other issues related to the travel.""We take this matter very seriously, and when questions arose about potentially inappropriate travel, we immediately began assessing the issue," read a statement from the office.After last week's report, a collection of congressional Democrats authored a letter to the inspector general requesting an investigation. The Department of Health and Human Services maintained that Price "used charter aircraft for official business in order to accommodate his demanding schedule."Prior to his nomination by Trump in November to lead HHS, Price served six terms as the U.S. representative of Georgia's 6th Congressional District, rising to the chairmanship of the House Budget Committee in 2015. Prior to his political career, Price worked as an orthopedic surgeon.He was narrowly confirmed as secretary by a 52-47 margin in February.
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  • Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin flew a commercial airline to London this past July to attend a veterans conference, but half his time there was spent on sightseeing and a stop at Wimbledon tennis tournament.Shulkin's wife's commercial travel costs were also paid for by the federal government because she was under "approved invitational orders"As questions have swirled about other Trump cabinet officials' use of government aircraft, the Department of Veterans Affairs has decided that in the interest of transparency it will post all of Shulkin's travel details on a VA website.Those documents show Shulkin has flown six times on U.S. military aircraft. Four of the flights were on Air Force One as he accompanied President Trump, one was on Air Force Two accompanying Vice President Pence and a flight earlier this week accompanying the first lady to this week’s Invictus Games in Toronto. Shulkin has never flown a private plane to travel for his official duties, according to a Veterans Affairs spokesman.The Department also posted the itineraries of Shulkin's trip in mid-July to Denmark and the United Kingdom and earlier this week to Canada with first lady Melania Trump.Shulkin and his delegation of six, including his wife Dr. Merle Bari, traveled commercial airlines to Copenhagen and London.But that trip itinerary to Denmark and London has raised questions about the amount of time Shulkin spent sightseeing.The itinerary shows that on July 12, the first day of his first three days in Copenhagen, Shulkin visited multiple tourist stops. The next two days were spent on meetings with Danish government and health care officials to discuss veterans issues.The first half of the six-day stay in London was dedicated to sightseeing before his full participation in a two-day veterans summit.Shulkin arrived in London on Saturday, July 15 and according to the itinerary he spent the afternoon at the "Wimbledon Tennis Tournament with Friends." That would have been the day of the Women's singles final.He spent the next two days visiting notable tourist sites in London including Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul's Cathedral, the Tower of London and took a "Thames River cruise to Greenwich Pier/Followed by dinner/evening in Piccadilly Circus."But from the afternoon of Wednesday, July 19, through Friday, July 21, Shulkin was immersed in full-day participation in the veterans conference."All activities on the itinerary were reviewed and approved by ethics counsel," said Curt Cashour, the VA Press Secretary.Cashour said the rules permit government reimbursement for a spouse’s “temporary duty” travel expenses.According to a VA press release, the department is the first federal agency to make public the travel details of its top official. "The information will also include what VA staff and spouses accompany him on each trip, if any, but for security reasons, members of the Secretary’s security detail will not be listed by name or number," said the release.“Under this Administration, VA is committed to becoming the most transparent organization in government, and I’m pleased to take another step in that direction with this move," Secretary Shulkin said. “Veterans and taxpayers have a right to know about my official travel as Secretary, and posting this information online for all to see will do just that."According to the release, Shulkin "pointed to the move as the fourth major step in long-sought transparency and accountability actions at VA." Previous actions include the VA's public listing of wait times and quality/satisfaction data at all VA medical centers, adverse employee actions and employee settlements.
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  • Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump's campaign had its fair share of staff shakeups before the election. And a little over eight months into Trump's presidency, his White House staff and administration have also seen a lot of turnover.Here are the departures of White House staffers and other administration officials, starting with the most recent:Tom PriceRole: Secretary of Health and Human ServicesOfficially started: Feb. 10, 2017Resigned: Sept. 29, 2017232 days in his tenurePrice resigned in the midst of a controversy over his use of private jets for government travel. The former congressman and orthopedic surgeon took as many as 26 chartered planes during his short tenure a spent an estimated $1 million of taxpayer money on both the domestic trips and military flights to Africa, Asia and Europe."I have spent forty years both as a doctor and public servant putting people first," wrote Price to Trump in his resignation letter. "I regret that the recent events have created a distraction from these important objectives."The HHS Office of Inspector General launched an investigation into the matter a week prior to the resignation.Sebastian GorkaRole: Deputy assistant to the presidentHired: Jan. 30, 2017Resigned: Aug. 25, 2017208 days in his tenureGorka was a deputy adviser focused on national security and counterterrorism who had worked as a paid policy consultant for Trump's campaign.Web magazine The Federalist obtained and posted what it says is Gorka's resignation letter. "[G]iven recent events, it is clear to me that forces that do not support the MAGA promise are -- for now -- ascendant within the White House," the Federalist quotes Gorka as saying. "As a result, the best and most effective way I can support you, Mr. President, is from outside the People’s House."The White House, however, disputed the claim that Gorka had tendered his resignation. A White House official told ABC News, "I can confirm he no longer works at the White House."What he's doing now: Gorka will return to Breitbart News.Steve BannonRole: Chief strategist and senior counselorHired: Nov. 13, 2016Officially started: Jan. 20, 2017Fired: Aug. 18, 2017211 days in his tenureAfter working as the CEO of the Trump campaign since August 2016, Bannon was appointed to a role in the White House. Trump's announcement that Bannon would be his chief strategist was met with backlash. Critics opposed Bannon's purported nationalist views and former position as executive chairman of the website Breitbart News, which published articles that promoted the so-called alt-right movement. Bannon's firing came as a result of Trump's increasing frustration with Bannon, according to one senior White House official. A source close to Bannon told ABC News that he resigned with an effective date of Aug. 14.What he's doing now: Bannon has returned to Breitbart News.Anthony ScaramucciRole: White House communications directorHired: July 21, 2017Officially started: July 26, 2017Fired: July 31, 20176 days in his tenureScaramucci didn't officially start in his position until July 26, so he was on the job for only six days. When his role was announced, however, he took questions from White House reporters during a press briefing.Almost a week after he was hired, The New Yorker's Ryan Lizza published a detailed account of an expletive-ridden phone conversation he had with Scaramucci. Scaramucci was pushed to resign the Monday after the article's publication."Mr. Scaramucci felt it was best to give chief of staff John Kelly a clean slate and the ability to build his own team," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement."The president certainly felt that Anthony's comments were inappropriate for a person in that position, and he didn't want to burden Gen. Kelly," Sanders told said at a press briefing the day Scaramucci resigned.What he's doing now: Having sold his stake in the hedge fund SkyBridge Capital to join the White House, Scaramucci ha
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Two sources familiar with the process have told ABC News the search for Gen. John Kelly’s replacement as Department of Homeland Security secretary is currently back at “square one,” 68 days after President Trump announced Kelly would be coming on as his chief of staff.President Trump told ABC News Friday that he would make his decision on a new secretary within a month.The delay comes as DHS is wrestling with the massive response to the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico, implementation of a new travel ban, rollback of the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA) program, as well as a host of national security and counter-terrorism priorities.Trump on Friday repeatedly stressed his satisfaction with the job being done by Acting DHS Secretary Elaine Duke and FEMA administrator Brock Long. But sources say the administration is having a tough time finding a permanent nominee. There are currently no names at this point who are actively considered "contenders," the sources said.Initially, Trump seemed to have settled on Texas Rep. Mike McCaul – telling Gen. Kelly at one point to “hire him.” But he was recently ruled out of contention after vocal objections from Attorney Gen. Sessions and other immigration hardliners inside the White House who thought McCaul was not tough enough on immigration issues.In addition, acting Secretary Duke is considered unlikely to be appointed the permanent director, and is currently not an “active contender,” sources say. However a senior DHS official emphasized that there is no real pressure to name a new secretary right away because she’s done a good job thus far leading the agency.Kelly and Deputy White House Chief of Staff Kirstjen Nielsen continue to be “very involved” in the search process, one source says.The White House has not responded to ABC News' request for comment.
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