- A newly released photo shows Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin watching the 2017 solar eclipse after he previously said he didn’t “have any interest in watching the eclipse.”
- He came under fire for using taxpayer money to fly to Kentucky that day, near the eclipse’s path of totality.
- His wife, Louise Linton, also faced harsh criticism for an Instagram post from the trip.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin was caught watching the 2017 eclipse in a photo the Treasury Department took.
ThinkProgress obtained the photo through a Freedom of Information Act request, and also got a hold of documents showing the US Mint procured viewing glasses for “VIPs and their staff” to watch the eclipse safely.
Mnuchin was at an event with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in Fort Knox, Kentucky on August 21 – just 142 miles from the path of totality that made for perfect eclipse viewing.
The former Goldman Sachs executive previously said the accusation that he took the trip solely to see the eclipse was absurd – because as a “New Yorker,” he was not interested in the event at all.
“You know, people in Kentucky took this stuff very serious. Being a New Yorker … I was like, the eclipse? Really? I don’t have any interest in watching the eclipse,” Mnuchin said in September, after watchdog groups called for a review of his flights.
— Danielle McLean (@DanielleBMcLean) April 25, 2018
In the grainy, black-and-white photo ThinkProgress obtained, Mnuchin is seen smiling and looking up, wearing the viewing glasses next to his wife, Louise Linton.
Linton drew criticism after posting on Instagram a photo of her and Mnuchin wearing pricey clothes as they exited a government plane the day they went to Kentucky.
She lashed back at a critic in the comments of her Instagram post, writing:
“Aw!!! Did you think this was a personal trip?! 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?”
Linton, who married Mnuchin in an extravagant June 2017 ceremony that Trump attended and the vice president officiated, went on to call the woman “adorably out of touch” and her children and life “cute.” She later apologised for the incident.
A October 2017 report from the Treasury Department’s Office of Inspector General found the official day trip to Kentucky cost taxpayers nearly $US27,000, and that Mnuchin reimbursed the government for Linton’s portion since she was onboard the plane.
Mnuchin came under fire for racking up more than $US1 million in airfare on eight trips between March and October 2017. He also requestedto fly on a military jet to visit Europe with Linton for their honeymoon. That trip was ultimately scrapped after Treasury Department officials considered it.
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