While it's natural to want to show off on social media at times, Louise Linton — the wife of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and an actress best known for playing a hard-partying cop in the universally panned 2016 remake of Eli Roth's horror classic "Cabin Fever" — may have gone a step too far.
Linton posted a photo of herself traveling on a government plane — something The Washington Post noted was really rare for government employees to do. It's even more rare for them to bring spouses along for the trips. But Linton didn't treat the trip to Kentucky as necessary domestic travel. She treated it like it was part of lavish lifestyle.
Linton's Instagram post showed herself and Mnuchin disembarking from a government plane, with Linton tagging the fashion companies Hermès, Roland Mouret, Tom Ford and Valentino. After one user sarcastically commented that she was "glad we could pay for your little getaway," Linton went on a tear against her critic.
After pointing out that this wasn't a "personal trip," Linton scolded 45-year-old Jenni Miller — who, The New York Times reported, is a mother of three in Portland, Oregon — for not appreciating how much Mnuchin and Linton pay in taxes.
"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?" Linton wrote. "I’m pretty sure we paid more taxes toward our day ‘trip’ than you did. Pretty sure the amount we sacrifice per year is a lot more than you’d be willing to sacrifice if the choice was yours."
Linton added, "You’re adorably out of touch . . . Thanks for the passive aggressive nasty comment. Your kids look very cute. Your life looks cute."
Shortly after controversy erupted over her response, Linton changed her Instagram account from public to private.
As the post noted, Mnuchin even taking a government jet was surprising by itself:
Typically, Treasury secretaries only fly government planes when they go on international trips. They usually fly on domestic carriers when they are traveling inside the country . . .
A Treasury Department spokesman said Monday’s flight was cleared by appropriate government channels, and that the Mnuchins covered the cost of Linton’s travel. The spokesman added that Linton did not receive any financial compensation for mentioning the fashion brands that she tagged in her Instagram post.
Whereas Linton's gaffe regarding Zambia seemed to be entirely of her own construction, her recent claim that paying a lot in taxes counts as a major sacrifice has comparable echoes among recent Republican politicians. During a town hall meeting in April, Republican Rep. Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma claimed that he wasn't obliged to taxpayers who support his salary because "I paid for myself. I paid enough taxes before I ever got here and continue to through my company to pay my own salary. This is a service. No one here pays me to do it. I do it as an honor and a service."
In a similar vein, during the 2016 presidential election, Trump himself infamously compared the sacrifices of soldiers who lose their lives in war to the fact that "I work very, very hard" and has "created thousands and thousands of jobs, tens of thousands of jobs."