Donald Trump’s Cabinet has been using private planes and the public is now concerned, despite the fact that Obama’s administration used government planes, for business and personal trips. Non-commercial planes were used for travel by former attorney generals Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch, former FBI director Robert Mueller and former CIA director and defense secretary Leon Panetta. These officials had to take these particular airplanes due to their high-level positions and the needed security that comes along with it. However, many wonder the necessity in all of the trips and if there were any other practical options that would save government money.
This issue has peaked its head out of the water again due to Tom Price, Health and Human Services Secretary, using private planes and military flights. All of Price’s flights have been for official business. Price swore to reimburse the government over $51,000 and promises not to fly private on the job any longer. Since news of Price’s flights became popular, the public has decided to take a deep look at other government officials, like Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Eric Holder, in 2014, took a government-owned plane and flew to New York for a horse race with members of his family and security officers. It was alleged that his trip cost the government $14,440; however he was only required to pay $955 back to the government. Senator Charles Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, stated, “Nobody disputes that the Attorney General and the FBI Director should have access to the secure communications, but, for instance, there’s no reason they can’t take a less expensive mode of transportation, or cut their personal travel.” According to a senior administration official, President Trump has authorized fewer trips on government-issued planes than Obama did in the first eight months in office.