Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has demonstrated a unique ability to draw negative headlines.
He was at it again on Thursday when, in a conversation with Politico’s Ben White, he took himself out of the frying pan and jumped right into the fire when trying to knock down reports that he had used a government plane to fly to Kentucky to see the solar eclipse.
“You know, people in Kentucky took this stuff very serious,” Mnuchin told White. “Being a New Yorker … I was like, the eclipse? Really? I don’t have any interest in watching the eclipse.”
Oh man! Those rubes in Kentucky were really fascinated by the eclipse huh?! Look in the sky, Ma, the sun done gone missing!
Lucky for Mnuchin, he is a New Yorker and, therefore, immune to the fact that the total eclipse of the sun by the moon is an extremely rare occurrence. I mean: He’s seen Times Square! What does a silly little eclipse matter to him? (Related: I am certain Mnuchin is one of those people who refer to New York City as “the City” – and expect everyone to know exactly what he’s talking about.)
Mnuchin – and his wife, Louise Linton – have been on quite a run of late.
Linton drew huge amounts of negative attention when, emerging from that flight to Kentucky, she posted an Instagram picture of her outfit – tagging a number of her favorite designers. A commenter snarked at her for the trip. Linton went off. She said, in part: “Cute! Aw!!! Did you think this was a personal trip?! Adorable! Do you think the US govt paid for our honeymoon or personal travel?! Lololol. Have you given more to the economy than me and my husband? Either as an individual earner in taxes OR in self sacrifice to your country? I’m pretty sure we paid more taxes toward our day ‘trip’ than you did.”
Linton – of course - later apologized for being woefully out of touch. “It was inappropriate and highly insensitive,” she said.
Earlier this week, reports emerged that Mnuchin had requested the use of a government plane for his and Linton’s honeymoon. Mnuchin defended that decision on Thursday, arguing the reason he even broached the idea was because he wanted to ensure he had a secure communications channel if he was needed while on vacation.
“Let me be clear,” he told White. “I’m very sensitive to the use of government funds. I’ve never asked the government to pay for my personal travel. This had nothing to do with convenience. This was purely about national security.”
Someone should do a public service and pull Mnuchin and Linton aside and share with them the wisdom of “Anchorman: “Take it easy, Champ. Why don’t you stop talking for a while…Maybe sit the next couple of plays out.”