President Donald Trump has established a pattern of answering “we’ll see” when asked about the future careers of White House employees on their way out of the administration. He most recently applied the equivocation Wednesday, when asked about Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price’s future.
Trump said he was “not happy” about Price’s frequent use of a taxpayer-funded private jet, and responded “we’ll see” when asked about the likelihood of Price’s dismissal.
“I was looking into it and I will look into it. I will tell you personally, I’m not happy about it,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “I am not happy about it, I’m going to look at it. I let him know it.”
The HHS office of the inspector general launched an investigation in late September into reports that Price has taken as many as 24 private flights, costingtaxpayers roughly $300,000.
Trump used similar language when asked about former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, just three days before the Breitbart executive’s departure.
“We’ll see what happens,” Trump told reporters after being asked about Bannon’s supposed ties to white nationalism days after the Charlottesville protests.
“I like him. He is a good man and he is not a racist, I can tell you that,” he said.
Those comments were made Aug. 15, three days before Bannon announced his departure. White House Chief of Staff Gen. John Kelly informed Bannon of his impending dismissal as one of his first moves in the White in late July. The timeline suggests that Trump knew about Bannon’s forthcoming departure.
Trump also invoked this language when asked about former FBI Director James Comey in April. The president insisted that Comey would keep his job after being asked if Trump regretted not requesting his resignation immediately upon taking office.
“I have confidence in him. We’ll see what happens. You know, it’s going to be interesting.”
Comey was fired several weeks later.
Frustration surrounding the Russia investigation has also seemingly jeopardized Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s career, as Trump has repeatedly maligned the former Alabama lawmaker and invoked his prized “we’ll see” moniker on numerous occasions.
Price issued a statement on his private jet travel Thursday and vowed to repay the cost of the travel.
“I regret the concerns this has raised regarding the use of taxpayer dollars. All of my political career I’ve fought for the taxpayers. It is clear to me that in this case, I was not sensitive enough to my concern for the taxpayer. 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 statement read.