A week after Louise Linton’s l’affaire Instagram, the Treasury’s Office of Inspector General said that they are reviewing Steve Mnuchin and Linton’s use of a government plane to view the eclipse.
“We are reviewing the circumstances of the Secretary’s August 21 flight . . . to determine whether all applicable travel, ethics, and appropriation laws and policies were observed,” Rich Delmar told the Washington Post in a statement. Delmar added that when the review was complete, the Inspector General’s office would “advise the appropriate officials” on “established procedures.”
Linton and Mnuchin’s flight to Kentucky would have likely gone unnoticed if not for a photograph of the couple that Linton shared on Instagram. In the photo, Linton and Mnuchin disembark from a government plane, a visual mash-up of celebrity and the political imagery usually reserved for the president and First Lady. Linton upped the ante on the post by hashtagging it with the designer brands she was wearing in the photograph, including Tom Ford and Hermes.
The excessive display of wealth, particularly on a tax-payer funded trip wasn’t apparently enough for Linton, who condescendingly defended herself from criticism in the comments of the post. In an emoji-filled response to one critic, Linton wrote, “Pretty sure the amount we sacrifice per year is a lot more than you’d be willing to sacrifice if the choice was yours.” She further insulted the woman by adding, “Your life looks cute.” Linton later apologized after the exchange went viral, a prime example of the Trump administration’s aristocratic sense of self.
After the row, the Treasury Department defended Mnuchin and Linton’s trip noting that the “Secretary of the Treasury at times needs to use a government aircraft to facilitate his travel schedule,” that the White House had approved the use of the plane, and that Linton’s travel costs would be reimbursed by Mnuchin. The Washington Post notes, however, that the Mnuchin’s use of a government plane was far from standard: “Cabinet members not involved with national security have traditionally flown on government planes only on rare occasions, including international trips, while taking commercial airlines for other domestic travels.”