Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price admitted he regret his actions on Thursday afternoon and pledged to reimburse taxpayer funds after he was caught using private jets to attend both business meetings as well as more extravagant endeavors that included a trip to a property he owns on an island to eat lunch with his son.
Price's tab, which was funded with taxpayer money, exceeded at least $400,000, but he said that "the taxpayers won’t pay a dime for my seat on those planes," in a statement on Thursday.
"Today, I will write a personal check to the U.S. Treasury for the expenses of my travel on private charter planes," the statement said. He did add however that "all of this travel was approved by legal and HHS officials."
"Despite this," the statement said. "I regret the concerns this has raised regarding the use of taxpayer dollars."
He continued, "it is clear to me that in this case, I was not sensitive enough to my concern for the taxpayer."
Price's statement also said that he has "fought for the taxpayers" his entire political career. "I know as well as anyone that the American people want to know that their hard-earned dollars are being spent wisely by government officials."
The apology comes after an investigation was launched into Price's actions by HHS's inspector general late last week. Price said that to ensure his remarks are taken seriously he will continue to "cooperate fully with the OIG, and internal review."
Within two months of joining President Donald Trump's administration, Price reportedly asked a White House official to tell the president that he wanted to reopen HHS's executive dining room, which was closed after it was deemed an unnecessary expense.