Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Steve Mnuchin, the White House Treasury Secretary shown above attempting to morph into Martin Shkreli, is being publicly excoriated again, an experience that must just frustrate the hell out of him, like when he’s forced to wash his hands with imported mineral water rather than the tears of tortured endangered animals.

After kicking off the first weeks of his tenure by attempting to violate ethics laws by officially encouraging Americans to go see a movie he personally profits from and helped produce, the sentient gated community laid low, merely helping initiate plans to shred any lingering corporate oversight or government regulation of the parties responsible for the worst crisis since the Great Depression. But now Mnuchin (rhymes with “screwed-the-pooch-in”) is back, baby, with an all-new act of almost jaw-dropping ignorance. ABC News reports the Secretary formally requested the use of a government military jet to fly him and his new wife on their honeymoon to Europe earlier this summer. At an approximate operating cost of $25,000 per hour, the cost to taxpayers would have run well into the several hundred thousand dollars.


For a man with a reported personal fortune in excess of $300 million, taking a personal trip at the public’s expense wasn’t great optics, which is why he was eventually shamed into withdrawing the request. Besides, as even a cursory search of his history of financial remuneration details, Mnuchin has already sapped a large portion of his wealth from public subsidies in the form of corporate welfare, as opposed to actually doing anything of value. Well, unless you count foreclosing on working people’s homes with business practices so unsavory, a judge actually referred to his company’s behavior as “inequitable, unconscionable, vexatious and opprobrious,” the latter three terms presumably being words Mnuchin had to look up.

Of all the public responses to it, it might be Democratic Senator Ron Wyden, his party’s head on the Senate Finance Committee, who had the most obvious reply. “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.” At this point, it seems likely many people are lining up to volunteer to slap Mnuchin’s forehead.

It’s the kind of gaffe that makes his wife Louise Linton’s use of hashtags to promote designer lifestyle brands while on an official government trip seem almost quaint, were it not for her response to public criticism of said hashtags with basically an imperious, “Let them eat cake.” Linton is a small-time actor who married up in a big way, and ABC has hopefully given the rest of the afternoon off to the enterprising researcher who realized, in a perfect union of irony and real life, that Linton once played an actor portraying Marie Antoinette on CSI: NY. Art does indeed imitate life, or at least a rich asshole’s version of it.