Actress Louise Linton, the wife of President Donald Trump's Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, came under fire Tuesday for bragging about her designer clothing, then posting classist remarks in response to criticism she received on the photo-sharing social network Instagram.
On Monday, Linton shared a now-deleted photo of her and Mnuchin deplaning an Air Force jet—which Mnuchin is required to use for official government travel—in Kentucky, ahead of a visit "to check out the nation's gold stash" at the U.S. Bullion Depository, a fortified vault located in Fort Knox.
Linton's caption for the photo included boasts about the fashion brands she was wearing: "Great #daytrip to #Kentucky! #nicest #people #beautiful #countryside #rolandmouret pants #tomford sunnies, #hermesscarf #valentinorockstudheels #valentino #usa."
When another user commented "Glad we could pay for your little getaway. #deplorable," Linton lashed back by pointing out how much she and her husband have paid in taxes, and the "amount we sacrifice per year," an apparant reference to her husband's role in government.
According to screen-captures of the post that are now virally being shared on various social media networks, Linton's full response to the critic was:
cute!....Aw!! Did you think this was a personal trip?! Adorable! Do you think the U.S. 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. You're adorably out of touch. Thanks for the passive aggressive nasty comment. Your kids look very cute. Your life looks cute. I know you're mad but deep down you're really nice and so am I. Sending me passive aggressive Instagram comments isn't going to make life feel better. Maybe a nice message, one filled with wisdom and hunanity [SIC] would get more traction. Have a pleasant evening. Go chill out and watch the new game of thrones. It's fab!"
"The bizarre exchange came the day Mnuchin flew to Louisville to try to make the case for Congress to overhaul the tax code," the Washington Post reported. "He particularly stressed how the tax changes would help middle-class Americans, although Democrats have alleged the Trump administration wants to pass large tax cuts that benefit the wealthy and multinational corporations."
"Linton's Instagram post comes at a time when her husband is under attack by some of President Donald Trump's loyalists for his lack of populist credentials," noted Yashar Ali in The Huffington Post. "Linton's out-of-touch post isn't likely to help Mnuchin, the former Goldman Sachs executive who served as the finance chair of Trump's presidential campaign."
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Following an outpouring of public condemnation, Linton adjusted the settings of her Instagram account to enable private mode—now, only users who previously followed her or who she directly approves can view and comment on her profile.
"If she hadn't made her account private, I would have written back with a very snide Marie Antoinette joke," Jenni Miller, whose comment triggered Linton's tirade, told the New York Times. "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."
Miller told the Times she later regretted letting the post get under her skin but remains critical of Linton's response. "It seems like she's been in public life for a long time," Miller said. "It just seemed wholly inappropriate."
Online, social media users were quick to criticize what's now been deemed Linton's "Let them eat cake" moment, with one respondent confessing on Twitter that Linton's response was "so unbelievably offensive I thought it was fake."
OMG - this Instagram comment from Mnuchin's wife is so unbelievably offensive I thought it was fake. It's real. pic.twitter.com/ykqPmkMsLt
— Matt McDermott (@mattmfm) August 22, 2017
— TaheerahBarney (@fleshandbrand) August 22, 2017
The most entitled people in the country. Steve Mnuchin and horrible wife. Public servants need to serve. This is perverse. https://t.co/AdB1OO8PdD
— RANTING Robin (@puppymnkey) August 22, 2017
— JoeMyGod (@JoeMyGod) August 22, 2017
— Mikey Smith (@mikeysmith) August 22, 2017
— WorkingFamiliesParty (@WorkingFamilies) August 22, 2017