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Homophobic Health Secretary Tom Price Quits After Jet Scandal

Price

Trump's health secretary leaves in disgrace, following reports he used hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer funds for charter flights.

Obamacare opponent and staunch anti-LGBT rights opponent Tom Price is the latest member of the Trump team to be drummed out of office; the Health and Human Services secretary resigned Friday after reports surfaced of his lavish travel, often at taxpayer expense.

After Politico broke the news that the high-flying former Georgia congressman racked up $400,000 in chartered flights since late January, there have been loud calls for his resignation. The news only got worse for him after Politico discovered Price spent another $500,000 on White House-approved military flights all around the world. Price eventually apologized and promised to pay back a small amount of the costs he incurred -- $52,000, which only covered his seat on chartered flights and not his staff's.

President Trump indicated earlier this week that he was not happy with Price, but it became clear Friday that the president was only upset at the bad headlines, not Price's actual grifting.

"He's a very fine man, but we're going to make a decision sometime tonight," Trump told reporters as he headed to another vacation in New Jersey. "I certainly don't like the optics."

The White House is facing a growing scandal over the spending of Cabinet members. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, and Veterans Affairs chief David Shulkin are all facing their own scandals involving expensive flights.

It's not clear if Price will be the only Cabinet member to lose his job. Price's spending was seen as highly hypocritical, since he was a budget hawk in Congress and an avowed foe of Obamacare. Trump was not pleased that the latest attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act died on the vine and previously threatened Price's job if the repeal did not pass.

Price, a former orthopedic surgeon, was first elected to the House in 2004. In addition to being an opponent of the ACA, he has a string of zeroes on the Human Rights Campaign's Congressional Scorecard for opposing LGBT rights. He called the Supreme Court's 2015 marriage equality decision "a sad day for marriage," supported a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, and even voted against the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which allocates additional federal resources to investigate and prosecute crimes that are based on a victim's sexual orientation or gender identity. He also is against abortion rights and opposes federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

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