U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's wife, Louise Linton, boasted of flying on a government plane with her husband to Kentucky on Monday and then named the numerous fashion brands she wore on the trip in an unusual social media post that only became more bizarre minutes later.
The brouhaha began when Linton posted a photograph on Instagram of herself disembarking a military jet emblazoned with official government markings. She had joined her husband on a quick trip to Kentucky with the Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell.
"Great #daytrip to #Kentucky!" Linton, 36, wrote under the photograph. She then added hashtags for various pieces of her expensive wardrobe, listing #rolandmouret, #hermesscarf, #tomford and #valentino.
Jenni Miller, 45, a mother of three from Portland, Ore., commented under the photograph, "Glad we could pay for your little getaway. #deplorable."
"Did you think this was a personal trip?!" Linton wrote on her Instagram page in response to Miller's comment.
Linton's Instagram account was later made "private" so that it could not be publicly seen).
Linton continued in her response to the critic: "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."
Linton added, "You're adorably out of touch. . .Thanks for the passive aggressive nasty comment. Your kids look very cute. Your life looks cute."
The fashion companies Linton "tagged" in her Instagram post were Hermes, Roland Mouret, Tom Ford and Valentino.
Miller, a registered Democrat, told the New York Times that she was taken aback by Linton's words.
"If she hadn't made her account private, I would have written back with a very snide Marie Antoinette joke," Miller said.
"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," she said, adding that she regretted letting Linton get under her skin.
Miller could not understand why Linton highlighted her brand labels on a trip to Kentucky, a state with a high poverty rate.
Mnuchin and Linton have been married for two months. Mnuchin is a Hollywood producer and former banker.
The bizarre exchange came the day Mnuchin flew to Louisville to try and make the case for Congress to overhaul the tax code. He particularly stressed how the tax changes would help middle class Americans, though Democrats have alleged the Trump administration wants to pass large tax cuts that benefit the wealthy and multinational corporations.
Typically, U.S. 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.
Mnuchin and Linton recently returned from their honeymoon, though they have not revealed where they went. Linton is a Scottish actress and has raised eyebrows within the White House for accompanying Mnuchin to congressional hearings and on other trips that spouses don't often travel to.
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 specific fashion brands that she tagged in her Instagram post.
Information from the Washington Post and New York Times was used in this report.