Louise Linton, the wife of Steve Mnuchin, Donald Trump’s secretary of the treasury who is a former investment banker at Goldman Sachs and immensely wealthy, came in for some well-deserved and harsh criticisms for the flaunting of her wealth while emerging from a government helicopter, because of her drawing attention to the brand names of the expensive clothing items she wore as if she were a paid spokesperson for them. She then lashed out at an Oregon woman who had the temerity to criticize her for it, replying thusly on her Instagram account.
“Aw!!! Did you think this was a personal trip?! Adorable!” she wrote. “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?”
Ms. Linton went on: “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.” After that, she included emojis of a curled bicep and a face blowing a kiss.
“You’re adorably out of touch,” she said, later adding, “your life looks cute” before concluding, “Go chill out and watch the new game of thrones. It’s fab!”
But someone must have told her that even in a new Gilded Age, speaking so contemptuously to the masses was not a good idea for someone whose spouse is a political appointee. So she came around to giving a groveling apology.
“It was scary and surreal, but it forced me to take a deep look at what I had done. I don’t feel like a victim. I feel like the world gave me a good, hard wake-up call, and I’m OK with that,” said Linton.
“I want to say I concede completely to the comments of my critics. My post itself and the following response were indefensible. Period. I don’t have any excuses, nor do I feel any self-pity,” she said.
“I sincerely take ownership of my mistake. It’s clear that I was the one who was truly out of touch and my response was reactionary and condescending. I wish I hadn’t spoken in such a patronizing tone.”
And then she went back to a magazine photoshoot where she modeled expensive ball gowns.
So is the apology sincere? Who knows? But Erin Gloria Ryan is not buying it.
Louise Linton has had an impressive run in her brief time in the public eye. She’s gone from being an F-list actress whose credits include an unnamed skin-care consultant role that was cut from a Tom Cruise film to writing a fabricated book about Africa that was so offensive it was pulled from bookstores to her new role: the woman in America who should shut up the most.
The problem with this sort of attempt at humanization is that it’s impossible to tell if the apology is sincere or performative and, given Linton’s history of being fucking terrible, it would be reasonable to assume the latter until proven otherwise. The way a person behaves when they’re unaware they’re being watched is a better indicator of a person’s true nature than they way they behave when they know all eyes are on them. Linton knows she’s being watched, she’s on the biggest stage she’s ever been on in her life, not for lack of trying.
No doubt Linton hopes that she can now go back to a quiet life of drinking champagne brought to her by serfs who have to crawl on their hands and knees in her presence.