Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin engaged in a heated clash with House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) on Tuesday.
Rep. Maxine Waters, the chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin engaged in a heated clash during a Tuesday hearing, with Mnuchin going so far as to threaten to not testify before the committee again if he was not allowed to leave.
Democrats grilled Mnuchin about when he will respond to requests for access to President Donald Trump’s tax returns.
As the testimony ran past three hours, Mnuchin asked to leave to attend a meeting with a foreign dignitary. When Waters informed him he was free to leave, a nervous Mnuchin said she should dismiss the meeting and “take the gavel and bang it.”
“If you’d wish to keep me here so I don’t have my important meeting, and continue to grill me, then we can do that. I will cancel my meeting and I will not be back here,” Mnuchin told Waters. “I will be very clear, if that’s the way you’d like to have this relationship.”
“Please dismiss everybody,” Mnuchin said, he then mispronounced the wooden mallet she held in her hand.
“I believe you are supposed to take the gravel [sic] and bang it,” he said.
Waters snapped back at him, “Please do not instruct me as to how I am to conduct this committee.”
“We’re all late all the time, unfortunately,” she said. “We’re all pressed for time, and I do get it.”
“When the Republicans [controlled the House of Representatives last year], they did not treat the secretary of the Treasury this way,” Mnuchin said. “So if this is the way you want to treat me, then I will rethink whether I would voluntarily come back here later to testify, which I have offered to do.”
Waters informed Mnuchin he could leave whenever he wanted.
Mnuchin refused to get up until she adjourned the committee, and grew angrier.
“You are instructing me, you are ordering me to stay here,” he said.
Mnuchin complained that no treasury secretary had testified before Congress for longer than three hours and 15 minutes in the past six years.
“This is a new way, and it’s a new day,” she said. “And it’s a new chair, and I have the gavel. At this point, if you wish to leave, you may.”
Mnuchin ultimately agreed to stay, according to The Washington Post.
“Thank you and I look forward to being back in May; we’ll work on a date,” Mnuchin said as the hearing ended around 5:30 p.m.
Maxine Waters teaches Steve Mnuchin the art of the deal pic.twitter.com/VORvF5iRwk
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 9, 2019