Opinion: The stunning, swift downfall of Tom Price

AP Photo

This time last year, Tom Price was handing out campaign contributions to Georgia legislators and giving every impression he was gearing up for a run for governor. Then Donald Trump became president, nominated Price to a high-profile cabinet position, and changed everything. Not, as it turned out, for better.

Price on Friday submitted his resignation to Trump after a barrage of stories about his use of private jets at taxpayer expense, and the president accepted. Less than eight months after being confirmed as secretary of Health and Human Services, Price is out.

It’s a stunning fall for someone who long was one of Georgia’s most prominent politicians. And it seems like such an unnecessary one — he had no good reason to be taking those flights at such a large expense — although it seems clear his ouster is at least partly about the failure of Republicans to pass an Obamacare repeal bill.

That was of course the main reason Price was brought on to lead HHS. Soon after Obamacare was passed, the former surgeon and six-term congressman was at the forefront of GOP efforts to design a plan to get rid of it and replace it with a more market-oriented approach. But once he was on the other side of things in the executive branch, he was accused of not being sufficiently hands-on in the administration’s lobbying efforts with Congress. There were whispers that some of those private-plane trips came as he left it to others to lead the legislative push. All in all, this reminder seems particularly apt today:

I don’t know if Price truly didn’t put in enough work on Capitol Hill or if he’s just a scapegoat. I don’t for one second believe Sen. Rand Paul might have voted for a bill he deemed inadequate when it came to repealing Obamacare if Price had schmoozed him a bit more. The same goes for Sen. John McCain and his insistence on regular order in the Senate. But I do know it’s a heckuva lot harder to get away with something like a penchant for private planes when your job performance is seen as lacking.

Nor is Price the only one with bruises from his short tenure at HHS. His resignation from the U.S. House led to a historic special election in Georgia’s 6th District, and a too-close call for the GOP in defending a long-held seat. The party expended a lot of resources and energy to retain it (which of course is better than expending a lot of resources and energy in defeat) in a contest that kept a constant focus on Congress’ halting efforts on health care and more.

Most of all, it’s another example of the kind of trouble I can’t believe politicians are still getting themselves into this far into the era of omnipresent media. If you are a prominent person, and you do something that would look bad, you can count on someone finding out and telling the world about it. It’s only a matter of when. And when the time comes, the downfall is certain and swift.

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105 comments
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panacifuga

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desiwijul

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temixab
temixab

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Eye wonder
Eye wonder

Here's hoping that Price's downfall is a harbinger of bigger and better downfalls to come.  "The greatest scandal in American history."

bendedknee
bendedknee

So if GOP and NRA had allowed gun silencers then the concert goers would not have been rudely disrupted by the sound of the gunfire. I hope Georgia  allows gun silencers so mentally ill people can buy assault weapons and do their thing without  disrupting the public.  Just can not have a court proceeding for five years but still  be batsh-t crazy to register in Georgia.

Gfodor
Gfodor

"Flight furor: Obama officials also took pricey, non-commercial planes". By Alex Pappas, Fox News


"Top figures during President Barack Obama’s tenure who used non-commercial planes for travel included then-attorney generals Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch, then-FBI director Robert Mueller, and then-CIA director and defense secretary Leon Panetta." 


"Because of their jobs, these officials were required to take government planes for security and communications purposes. Still, critics questioned whether they could have found more cost-effective options and whether all the trips were necessary. "


"The issue of Cabinet officials using non-commercial planes resurfaced after the outcry over Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price's repeated use of private planes and military flights for official business. Price resigned from the administration over the scandal Friday."


So get off your "high horse" AJC editor and try for once in your life to be "UNBIASED"!!!

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/09/29/flight-furor-obama-officials-also-took-pricey-non-commercial-planes.html 


Here's_to_Blue
Here's_to_Blue

@Gfodor Did Obama get elected on the promise of "draining the swamp"?  Trump did and has done nothing to actually drain it, you troll.

PDPDP8
PDPDP8

Half-true - no not true at all.  Such bs.  Remember Dennis Haster, yes the Republican who just got out of Jail for molesting teenagers on his wrestling team, yes that Republican.  As Speaker of the house he got a bill passed requiring S of the House to fly aircraft with approved communication since the S OF the House was 3rd in line to succeed the President. Military and several others were required to fly specific type planes for national defense security.  Google it instead of posting false information.

MarkVV
MarkVV

@Gfodor A typical, stupid response from Trump's supporters, taking cue from the President, to any revelation of the misdeeds: Obama (or his Administration) did that too! No evidence, only bluster. 

aep
aep

So who in the hell approved his use of the private planes anyway? Was a purchase order used? If this wasn't SOP, why didn't someone say "You're new here - we don't charter private planes"?




stogiefogey
stogiefogey

@aep  It was an appalling lapse of judgment on the part of a man who's been in politics for years and should've known better without being told.

You could almost believe he took leave of his senses.

breckenridge
breckenridge

Weekend in review.......


- Trump said Puerto Ricans want everything done for them.

- Trump told Rex Tillerson negotiating with North Korea is a waste of time.


The are just the latest examples of why Trump lacks the leadership skills to serve as president. 

stogiefogey
stogiefogey

This sort of thing just validates my decision to walk away from the GOP years ago, during the Geo. WMD Bush/Rubberstamp Congress era.

Republicans talk...talk...talk a good game, cant' seem to get out of their own way. Sad to say but Dems are better at governance.

bu22
bu22

@stogiefogey  Doing something and doing something useful are not the same thing.

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

@__Ariana Must be tough preforming a table dance atop a laptop! Does that constitute a "lap dance"?

Another comment
Another comment

The D.C. Media has also exposed that he was out drinking at Bullfeathers Bar in DC when they were trying to whip up the Obamacare vote. That is another exposure against his being a Johnson Ferry Babtist church member type. The anti drinking type they so claim to be. He was many shirts to the wind and looked like an acholic drinking at the bar by all accounts. Of course, when you hide your true self and Betty is your Beard for all these years, you take to a bit of drinking.

antboogie
antboogie

"Stunning". Is this sarcasm? Another Georgia politician too sleazy even for D.C.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

Price was touted as the architect of the Obamacare replacement and that recognition turned out to be false. Trump, however, was misled by congressional leaders like McConnell and Paul Ryan who assured him that a repeal and replace of Obamacare would breeze through congress, which also proved false. Price was not on Trump's good guy list because of the healthcare failure and his misuse of travel expense cooked it for him. He's damaged but his political career will likely survive.

Starik
Starik

@SGTGrit  Well, is he going to run for Handel's seat? Governor? He had his eye on Governor before Trump hired him. 

Starik
Starik

@SGTGrit @Starik  He'd have to go after Handel in the primary; that might help the Democrats. I'm sure there's a lot of angst among the Republicans running for Governor. Price flopped in his job but did gain some name recognition. 

breckenridge
breckenridge

@SGTGrit @Starik 


Price? A religious right enemy of the Establishment Clause in the 1st Amendment.  Just the kind of trash that needs to be purged from the republican party. 


The Establishment Clause........it's not a left vs right issue. It's a good American vs filthy traitor issue.

COL1HYATT
COL1HYATT

Seems like a lot of nasty Liberal Lefties in here constantly nursing their fragile feelings. LOL

PDPDP8
PDPDP8

You sound just like the citizen that would still vote for Tom Price for Govenor.

James P Wesberry Jr
James P Wesberry Jr

Price brought shame to the State of Georgia by wasteful spending of the taxpayers' money while purportedly being a fiscal conservative.


breckenridge
breckenridge

And now Trump, who is living proof that having money does not give you class, says that the people of Puerto Rico want "everything done for them."


I do know for certain, since I have a small number (7) of Puerto Rican friends and acquaintances who live here, that long before this hurricane and subsequent disaster, Trump was considered a racist by the people of Puerto Rico.  And this will do nothing to dissuade them of that belief.


BTC
BTC

The sooner Trump leaves office, the better

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

  If you are a prominent person, and you do something that would look bad, you can count on someone finding out and telling the world about it. It’s only a matter of when. And when the time comes, the downfall is certain and swift.


Unless you are Trump. Then you can mock a mans disability. Brag about sexual assault.


And it doesnt seem to matter. 

PDPDP8
PDPDP8

Election is over now time for an Impeachment.

DawgWhistle
DawgWhistle

The saddest thing of all is that if this jerk were to offer again for public office in Georgia, he'd probably win. Says a lot about the 'values' of our electorate.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

If Price WAS hands-on, I never saw evidence of it so he won't be missed by me. The scant times he opened himself up for questions, regarding healthcare, he blew it.

There's an area between bombastic and low-key. It's in that middle-area that I look for leaders. 

Bill72
Bill72

Typical Republican behavior....arrogance and a sense of entitlement.  But the irony is Drumpf draining the Secret Service account with all of his golf outings.  Guess it is do as I say not as I do.  

Salt-n-Light
Salt-n-Light

Ar least Price resigned. Menendez is still holding on. Seems only Conservatives pay for their mistakes. Just sayin'

TheCentrist
TheCentrist

Price is guilty of the "mistakes" including but not limited to misuse of federal funds, lying under oath, malfeasance in office, prevaricating regarding health insurance for eight year, and insider trading.

The only thing Tommy didn't say was that he "wanted to spend more time with his family.". But he couldn't since he already had the taxpayers cover the cost of some of his visits.

Eustis
Eustis

If the GOP could present a healthcare plan that a majority in the Country supported, they could get it passed. They should consider the welfare of all Citizens, not just their supporters.

the1percentcaresnot
the1percentcaresnot

Thank goodness for the internet, half the crap we are hearing about would never come out by the major news media.

Kathy
Kathy


The swamp grows daily. What agency is responsible to monitor insider trading. They should be fired as well.





breckenridge
breckenridge

Price deserved the ax.  And the acting head of Homeland Security Elaine Duke deserves to get the boot also, for calling Puerto Rico a "good news story."

bendedknee
bendedknee

Tom Price has the ethical track  record and history of corruption necessary to be next GOP governor of Georgia

GA400
GA400

With Price having left the office of HHS, we can not hopefully see positive things happen there. He was never accepted in D.C., better his resignation now than later.