Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has taken $800,000 worth of taxpayer-funded flights on military aircraft since March, including a $15,000 round-trip flight to New York City to meet with President Trump at Trump Tower, according to a new report from the department’s Office Inspector General.
Mnuchin has made at least nine requests to use military aircraft since assuming his position in the administration earlier this year. One of the requests was for an upcoming trip to the Middle East in October.
The department’s inspector general was also investigating why the secretary requested a government plane to take him and his wife Louise Linton on their European honeymoon. The request was later withdrawn.
“What is of concern is a disconnect between the standard of proof called for” by the Office of Management and Budget “and the actual amount of proof provided by Treasury and accepted by the White House in justifying these trip requests,” the Treasury inspector general wrote, according to The New York Times.
Mnuchin’s travels have faced intense scrutiny since late August after his wife bragged about her wealth and attacked an Oregon woman for having less money than she does after being criticized for tagging her expensive designer clothing in an Instagram photo of herself exiting a government plane.
The post shows the Scottish-born actress and producer stepping off an official government plane on a trip to Kentucky with her husband, who was there to discuss tax reform with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and visit Fort Knox.
Linton tagged a series of luxury designers, including Hermes, Roland Mouret, Tom Ford and Valentino in her post.
“Great #daytrip to #Kentucky! #nicest #people #beautiful #countryside #usa,” she wrote.
Treasury Sec. Steve Mnuchin's wife Louise Linton has deleted this Instagram, which contained tagged designers and some interesting comments pic.twitter.com/MvPhPJtRze
— Betsy Klein (@betsy_klein) August 22, 2017
Instagram user Jenni Miller, a mother of three from Oregon, fired back at Linton, commenting, “Glad we could pay for your little getaway. #deplorable”
Linton responded to Miller’s post in a sarcastic tone.
“@jennimiller29 cute! Aw!!! Did you think this was a personal trip?! Adorable! Do you think the US govt paid for our honeymoon or personal travel?! Lololol,” she wrote.
“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,” she wrote, calling Miller “adorably out of touch.”
Linton, who appeared to have browsed through Miller’s Instagram feed, said her “life looks cute” and told her to “have a pleasant evening” and “chill out.”
Louise Linton, Sec Mnuchin's wife, posts photo that tags Hermes/Tom Ford/Valentino as she leaves Air Force Jet then replies to a critic pic.twitter.com/Uhjc7qBiEA
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) August 22, 2017
In an interview with The New York Times, Miller said she was shocked at Linton’s comments, adding that they were “wholly inappropriate.”
“It seems like she’s been in public life for a long time,” she said. “It just seemed wholly inappropriate.”
“I think my post was just five or six words, and she had to go on basically a rant about it to make herself look more important and look smarter, better, richer — all those things,” Miller said.
“She went to a state where one in five people lives in poverty and many children don’t know where their next meal is coming from,” Miller told CNN. “Instead of helping in some way, she chose to brag about her outlandishly expensive clothes. It’s more than tone-deaf, it’s deplorable.”