Several weeks ago, the wife of Trump’s Treasury Secretary, Louise Linton, made national headlines for posting a photo of herself deplaning a U.S. Air Force jet in full high-fashion garb, tagging luxury brands Hermes, Tom Ford and Valentino in the photo. A critic commented on the fact that the trip, presented as a high-class getaway, was paid for by taxpayer dollars, prompting Linton to lash out with a tone-deaf and condescending response.
“Aw!! Did you think this was a personal trip?! Adorable! Did you think the US govt paid for our honeymoon or personal travel?! Lololol,” read part of her comment.
A government inquiry into Steven Mnuchin and Louise Linton’s use of government travel has revealed that the Treasury Secretary did indeed request a government jet for him and his wife to travel on their honeymoon to France, Scotland, and Italy this summer.
Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, lashed out at the absurd request.
“You don’t need a giant rulebook of government requirements to just say yourself, ‘This is common sense, it’s wrong,'” Wyden said. “That’s just slap your forehead stuff.”
Mnuchin and Linton have also come under fire for allegedly using a U.S. Air Force jet – which comes at a cost of $25,000 per hour to operate – to view the solar eclipse last month in Fort Knox, Kentucky, which falls within the “line of totality,” where the eclipse could be best experienced.
The Treasury Department’s Office of Inspector General has launched official “inquiries” into both the Kentucky trip and the honeymoon travel request.
According to ABC News:
One senior Treasury official who has worked with a number of past secretaries said that military aircraft are only used in “extreme” circumstances, such as if the secretary had to be rushed back to a meeting in Washington, D.C., with the President.
Another former senior Treasury official who worked closely with Mnuchin’s predecessor, Secretary Jack Lew, said it would have been “exceedingly rare” for Secretary Lew to use military aircraft for official business. The only exception to the rule was foreign business travel. As for private travel, “there’s not a chance in hell that Secretary Lew would have considered using military air,” this former official said.
Aside from the egregiously inappropriate nature of the abundantly wealthy wife of a public servant deriding an American citizen concerned – rightly – that our tax dollars are being needlessly squandered, Linton should perhaps make sure that her bases are covered before pardoning herself from offenses that she and her husband indeed committed. Some advice for the next time she decides to open her mouth: insert foot.
Brian Tyler Cohen is a political writer, actor, and comedy sketch director. He graduated from Lehigh University with a dual degree in English and Business. He currently lives in Los Angeles.