We now have confirmation of four of Donald Trump's Swamp Dwelling Cabinet using taxpayer money to fund extensive, sometimes over $1,000,000, usage of private jets or military planes to destinations that are extensively serviced by commercial airlines. Mnuchin, ironically the head of Treasury, refuses to use only commercial flights. Politico did some stellar reporting on HHS head, Tom Price, and his waste of over $1,000,000 on private jets and military planes. Oh, and EPA head, Scott Pruitt, also used private jets when he could have easily taken commercial, although his total known expenditure (thus far) is a paltry $58,000.
Well, now we have Interior Secretary, Ryan Zinke, who also is a frequent private jet flyer. He is also unapologetic and borderline annoyed that the regular taxpayer is demanding that he not waste their money to fly private. But you know, he is special and the cabinet clearly feels entitled and deserving of such luxuries as private jets, leather reclining seats, empty planes, catered lobster and champagne meals. You know, not what the average folks get on a plane.
Anyways, today at The Heritage Foundation, Zinke was pretty unapologetic. Here is what he said:
"The Senate Natural Resources Committee and the Arctic Circle. As you know, the Alaskan senator Lisa Murkowski is the chair. And I find her company and her invitation to be consistent with the Department of Energy's or Interior policies. Number two, flying late at night to the great state of Montana on invitation. Invitation to meet the great governor of the great state of Montana. And to speak at the Western Governor's Association the next morning. Number three. And the islands of the United States Virgin Islands.
As you are aware, interior has the federal oversight of the territories from the Virgin Islands to Palau. And the Virgin Islands are part of that. I was invited and accepted the invitation to be part of their 100th anniversary of the transition of power between Danes and America. I was privileged to attend those with the Prime Minister of Denmark. I also took military air. With Secretary Perdue. So he and I could go out and meet with a wildfire land crews on Monday. As the fires happen year after year. I might remind you, we also lost a firefighter fighting those fires. I also fly military air with the president and the vice president. When asked by invitation.
I intend to continue flying in the benefit of official duties. All this travel was done only after it was determined by multiple career professionals at the department that no commercial options existed to meet the promulgated schedule. And the flights were only booked after extensive due diligence by the career professionals in the department's general law and ethics division.
Every time I travel I submit the travel plan to the ethics department that evaluates it line by line to make sure that I am above the law. And I follow the law. Of course, we are always continuing to look at ways of lower cost in the department. You'll find out to increase revenues. I'll always be honest and up front about my travel.
In fact, you can follow me on "Twitter." So if you follow me on "Twitter," you know I took Suburban from Valley Forge this morning. Now with that besides, let's go to why we're here."
I am pretty sure that Montana, the Virgin Islands and Denmark are serviced by major airlines that could easily fly Zinke on any day he chooses for a fraction of what he wasted in taxpayer money. Maybe his assistant could check out www.trivago.com or www.expedia.com to research alternative flights?