The exchange became oddly personal.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s wife, Louise Linton, boasted about traveling with her husband on a government airplane and tagged the designer fashion she wore on the trip—#hermesscarf, #valentino—in an Instagram post on Monday that resulted in Linton lashing out at a critic.
Linton’s post—a photo of her disembarking a plane emblazoned with ‘United States of America’ that recalled a “great #daytrip to #Kentucky!”—received some critical comments.
“Please don’t tag your Hermes scarf. Distasteful,” one user commented.
Another jab—”Glad we could pay for your little getaway. Deplorable.”—triggered a response from Linton, who later made her profile private.
“Did you think this was a personal trip?!” Linton replied, according to screenshots of the exchange. “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.”
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Linton, a Scottish actress, wed Mnuchin two months ago in a ceremony officiated by Vice President Mike Pence.
Linton’s response then became oddly personal. Having apparently looked at the critic’s profile, she wrote: “You’re adorably out of touch … Thanks for the passive aggressive nasty comment. Your kids look very cute. Your life looks cute.”
A Treasury Department spokesman told The Washington Post that the couple’s flight on Monday to Louisville where Mnuchin pushed for a tax code overhaul had cleared the appropriate government channels and that the couple incurred the cost of Linton’s travel. The spokesman also said that Linton received no compensation from the fashion companies she tagged in her post. That clarification is noteworthy since members of the Trump administration have been criticized in the past for using public office to promote brands, namely Trump-associated enterprises.
Linton’s post and her fiery reply also underscores the socio-economic divide between members of the Trump administration and the voters they promised to serve. Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs banker and Hollywood financier, could have a net worth as high as $500 million, according to Fortune analysis conducted earlier this year, and on disclosures forms filed in January he reported recent income of $70 million. Kentucky, the state the couple visited, meanwhile, was the fifth poorest in 2015 with an average household income of $45,215, according to Census data.