Many people know by now about the enormous amount of money that it has cost taxpayers for first lady Melania Trump and son, Barron, to live in New York instead of at The White House. Not to mention, the ridiculous amount of money that Trump is squandering away by going on an absurd amount of golfing outings. Well, it appears that he is not the only one capable of spending taxpayer money for frivolous personal expenses.
Treasury Secretary Mnuchin had the audacity to request a government jet to take he and his wife on their honeymoon to Scotland, France, and Italy. Operating a U.S. Air Force Jet is not a minor expense — it can cost roughly $25,000 an hour to operate. Luckily, the treasury office decided that the request was unnecessary and did not approve it. However, the fact that he requested it speaks volumes about him as a person.
Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) said in an interview with ABC News:
‘You don’t need a giant rulebook of government requirements to just say yourself, “This is common sense, it’s wrong.” That’s just slap your forehead stuff.’
Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs banker, has already been under heavy criticism for using a government jet to travel to Louisville and Fort Knox, Kentucky, last month. The inspector general is reviewing his use of the jet, and has questioned whether he used the trip as an opportunity to catch one of the best views of the solar eclipse with his wife, Louise Linton. Linton is a Scottish actress and model.
Mnuchin’s office denies that he took the trip to watch the solar eclipse within the “path of totality” and maintains that he was there for meetings on tax reform. However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) met with Secretary Mnuchin during his trip to Kentucky, and he tweeted a picture of them together watching the eclipse and wearing their protective glasses. The treasury department did say that the Mnuchins would reimburse the government for his wife’s travel costs.
While reviewing the trip to Kentucky, the Treasury Department’s Office of Inspector General has started an official “inquiry” into the secretary’s honeymoon travel request for a U.S. Air Force jet. A spokesman for the Treasury Department says that Mnuchin was concerned about maintaining an official communication method when he made the request. The spokesman told ABC News:
‘The Secretary is a member of the National Security Council and has responsibility for the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. 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 senior Treasury official confirmed that Mnuchin’s predecessor, Jack Lew, would only have used a military aircraft to conduct business under rare circumstances. An exception might have been foreign business travel. The former official said that in regards to personal travel:
‘[T]here’s not a chance in hell that Secretary Lew would have considered using military air.’
Mnuchin’s wife, Linton, has been criticized for bragging about the Kentucky trip on Instagram and posting a photo of them stepping off their private government jet. She went on to belittle another woman on social media saying:
‘Aw!! Did you think this was a personal trip?! Adorable! Did you think the US govt paid for our honeymoon or personal travel?! Lololol.’
Some people close to the matter have said that Linton didn’t realize her husband had requested government travel for their honeymoon prior to making that comment, but it seems difficult to believe. Regardless, it seems that her husband has quite a bit of explaining to do and may not be let off the hook easily for his largely inappropriate requests.
Featured image by Shawn Thew-Pool/Getty Images.