Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s wife hit back at an Instagram user who had suggested taxpayers were funding her lavish lifestyle, prompting CNN political commentators on Tuesday to compete with one another for the harshest invective.
April Ryan, White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, said public servants should be more modest — even the spouses of public servants.
“And she had a Birkin bag. I think it’s at least $10,000,” Ryan said. “So when you are a public servant, and even if you’re married to a public servant, you have to remember service is about the people. And many of the people that you’re serving cannot afford a Birkin bag that’s at least $10,000, or a beautiful scarf by whatever designer it was.”
Ryan did not explain why it was wrong — other than appearances — for Louise Linton to wear expensive clothes and carry designer accessories that she bought with her own money.
The controversy started with an Instagram photo of Linton getting off a government plane in Kentucky, where the Treasury secretary had talked up tax reform.
Instagram user Jenni Miller wrote, “Glad we could pay for your little getaway. #deplorable”
Linton fired back: “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. Pretty sure the amount we sacrifice per year is a lot more than you’d be willing to sacrifice if the choice was yours.”
Ryan said Linton looked like she was coming off a fashion magazine cover.
“That is the style of this administration. And unless he reels it in, you have to assume that the president and the rest of the White House are OK with portraying themselves this way.”
“But you have to remember, many of the people that your husband is serving can just barely make it,” she said. “They are trying to make ends meet — unemployed, underemployed or just making it. And you have to be very careful how you flash your wealth, flash your status, particularly as you are serving people.”
David Drucker, senior political correspondent for the Washington Examiner, called it “the epitome of tone-deaf.”
No, said CNN commentator Errol Louis, it was worse than that.
“Not just tone-deaf,” he said. “Reflecting a sneering, snarling contempt for those who don’t have what she has, which is wealth and power.”
Louis also found a way to steer the blame toward … President Donald Trump.
“That is the style of this administration,” he said. “And unless he reels it in, you have to assume that the president and the rest of the White House are OK with portraying themselves this way.”
(photo credit, article image of CNN: Josh Hallett, Flickr)