Steve Mnuchin Inquired Into Using Government Plane For His Honeymoon

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who recently gained attention for using a government plane to fly to Kentucky during last month’s eclipse, apparently inquired into using a government plane for his honeymoon earlier this year:

WASHINGTON — Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin inquired about the use of a military plane for his European honeymoon last month, the Treasury Department confirmed on Wednesday, a disclosure that comes as he is already under scrutiny for taking a government plane to Kentucky before viewing the Aug. 21 solar eclipse.

The Treasury Department said Mr. Mnuchin had asked about the military plane so that he would have access to secure communications when he was abroad.

“It is imperative that he have access to secure communications, and it is our practice to consider a wide range of options to ensure he has these capabilities during his travel, including the possible use of military aircraft,” a Treasury spokesman said in a statement.

According to the spokesman, Treasury officials withdrew the request after finding an alternative way to communicate about government matters securely. He noted that Mr. Mnuchin is a member of the National Security Council with responsibility for the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.

Mr. Mnuchin and his wife, Louise Linton, a Scottish-born actress, were married in June.

The revelation about the request, which was first disclosed by ABC News, quickly drew a backlash on social media, with critics accusing Mr. Mnuchin, a multimillionaire former hedge fund manager, of seeking to use taxpayer funds to finance his personal travel.

It comes as Mr. Mnuchin is leading the Trump administration’s push to overhaul the tax code, which he has promised to make more fair for middle-class Americans.

Mr. Mnuchin and Ms. Linton had already come under criticism for their trip last month to Kentucky, where they traveled together for a tax reform event. Ms. Linton created a firestorm when she mocked a woman who had criticized her on Instagram for promoting luxury brands while traveling to a poor part of the country.

The couple did travel by government plane on that trip, and the Treasury Department’s inspector general is reviewing the flight and whether any ethical violations were made.

Only the little people fly commercial, apparently.

FILED UNDER: Deficit and Debt, Quick Takes, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. James Pearce says:

    I feel like, as a swamp creature, Mnuchin should travel exclusively by airboat.

  2. Ben Wolf says:

    Steve is used to living large on someone else’ dime.

  3. al-Ameda says:

    This is good theater. I remember the outrage, and just how appalled Trump supporters pretended to be, upon learning that Hillary Clinton gave three speeches to Goldman Sachs for about $600,000 in fees.

    Well, Trump brought into his cabinet and circle of advisers many from the Goldman Sachs team.

    Steve is a graduate of the Marie Antoinette School of Management & Ethics; who can be surprised that he and his wife let us all eat cake in the wake of ‘official business’ travel plans like this?

  4. KM says:

    There’s quite a few Trump apologists on various threads trying the excuse that since he was DENIED (always in caps, mind you) this request, it’s somehow not an ethical violation. “Gawd what’s the big deal, libs? I mean, he only asked, amirite? What’s the harm in that?” After all, it’s not like we prosecute on intention or motive, only the result – attempted murder’s not a crime, nor is attempted robbery. The courts are totally cool with it if somebody tells you that you can’t do that illegal thing for personal profit and no harm, no foul for officially asking.

    This is the kind of blatant government abuse that used to drive fiscal conservatives nuts. Did they all die of outrage aneurysms or something? Where’s the small gov neo-cons? Probably out joyriding on government property…..

  5. Gustopher says:

    Who doesn’t try to steal from their employer at every opportunity?

  6. Jen says:

    The subsequent explanation–that he needed to be in secured contact with the administration–was a head-scratcher to me. If your concern is that you won’t have access to a secure line when it’s needed, isn’t the question “how do I make sure I can get to a secure line if it’s needed while I’m gone?” rather than “hey, anyone using that taxpayer-funded plane?”

    Honestly, this cast of characters is too much.