Here’s what I don’t get. Trump’s Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin, is a rich guy. Seriously rich: on the order of a half a billion in net worth, w. a cool $70 million in 2016 earnings. If he wants to check out a cool event — a total eclipse, say, a desire I wholly understnd — he can afford to do so at any level of comfort he chooses, and never miss the lucre.
Instead, he scams:
Last week, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin took Mitch McConnell, some other Republican lawmakers, and his wife, Louise Linton, to Kentucky, ostensibly to touch large piles of gold at Fort Knox. Coincidentally, Kentucky also happened to be one of the best places to watch the total solar eclipse, which happened to occur on the day of their trip.
This trip had already attracted a bit of unwanted attention (back in those halcyon days before Melania’s stiletto adventures) after Linton instagramed the following:
“Great #daytrip to #Kentucky! #nicest #people #countryside,” Linton wrote, according to a screenshot of the now-private post, before tagging the labels she was wearing “#rolandmouret pants, #tomford sunnies, #hermesscarf #valentinorockstudheels #valentino #usa.”
Nothing says populist like that kind of fashion profile, eh?
Now, however, it turns out that drawing eyes to the family outing might have been more than a mere PR flub:
The U.S. Treasury’s Office of Inspector General is reviewing the flight taken by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and his wife, Louise Linton, last week to Louisville and Fort Knox, Ky., following criticism of their use of a government plane on a trip that involved viewing the solar eclipse.
“We are reviewing the circumstances of the Secretary’s August 21 flight . . . to determine whether all applicable travel, ethics, and appropriation laws and policies were observed,” counsel Rich Delmar wrote in a statement to The Washington Post late Thursday.
“When our review is complete, we will advise the appropriate officials, in accordance with the Inspector General Act and established procedures,” Delmar added.
Yo! Mnuchin! Pay attention here. The Air Force is not your personal air taxi service. You want to take a day off? Fine. You’re the boss. You can play hooky to join millions jazzing on the sun’s waltz with the moon. And you can pay for it your own damn self, just like I did, my brothers, and everyone I know.
More seriously: someone who actually takes public service as service knows not to give even the appearance of putting one’s hand in the cookie jar. And it’s not as if this puts Mnuchin through any hardship. As noted above, he is far and away rich enough to pay for all his pleasures; there’s no meaningful gain to him to sleaze a little grift off the top. But apparently, he can’t help himself.
Scum floats — but how can you tell when it’s scum all the way down?
Image: Elihu Vedder, Corrupt Legislation (detail), mural in the Library of Congress, 1896.