President Donald Trump named Eric Hargan as the acting Health and Human Services Secretary on Tuesday after the resignation of HHS Secretary Tom Price over controversy surrounding his air travel.
Hargan was sworn in last week as deputy HHS secretary, and takes the place of Don Wright, who had been serving as acting secretary since Price’s departure.
“Eric Hargan brings a wealth of knowledge, expertise and leadership experience to HHS,” Wright said in a statement when Hargan was sworn in as deputy secretary. “His commitment to public service and vast experience in the health care field will help guide the department as we advance President Trump’s agenda on behalf of the American people. We look forward to working with deputy secretary Hargan to enhance and protect the health and well-being of all Americans.”
Hargan served on Trump’s transition team for HHS, according to a March White House statement on Trump’s intent to nominate him as deputy secretary.
Price resigned from the administration after it was revealed he had used private charter planes for government travel. Politico reported that Price had taken at least 24 charter flights since May, which charter plane operators estimated would have cost $400,000, according to Politico.
Price’s travel ultimately resulted in his resignation, but before stepping down he wrote a check to the US Treasury to reimburse taxpayers for $51,887.31, the cost of his seat on the private flights.
The White House also issued travel guidance to agency heads after Price’s departure.