The decline and fall of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price should not primarily be remembered as the story of a man who luxuriated wastefully on the taxpayer dime. It's mostly about a man we couldn't trust.
It was, ironically, when Price fessed up, and pledged to pay for his seat on the charter jets that his untrustworthiness became so glaring. My colleague Emily Jashinsky made this argument.
- Price's pledge to never take charter flights again for business was a tacit admission that his previous cover story — that the flights were necessary — was bogus.
- Paying back the value of an improper benefit you received only after you were caught only raises the question of what else you were hiding.
- He made it sound like he was making the taxpayers whole for the charter jets, but he wasn't. Covering the cost of only his own seat on the charters that flew only because he demanded them is not paying for what you broke.
- Even after getting caught and pledging to pay for the charters, he was still mum about the military jets he flew overseas, presumably because they are pimpin', until Politico reported it.
- Price has a history of ethically questionable behavior, such as apparently making money off of stocks affected by his own legislative action.
So this isn't a guy who made a selfish mistake and cost the taxpayers money. This is a guy who concealed his activities and didn't shoot straight. A man like that can't be a cabinet secretary.
Maybe he'll be a successful healthcare lobbyist.
Timothy P. Carney, the Washington Examiner's commentary editor, can be contacted at email@example.com. His column appears Tuesday nights on washingtonexaminer.com.