Despite rolling in multi-millions, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin apparently planned for taxpayers to fund his honeymoon to Europe.
According to ABC News, Mnuchin requested a government jet to shepherd him and his new wife, Louise Linton, overseas for their romantic holiday at the phenomenal cost of approximately $25,000 per hour. The trip would have cost Americans hundreds of thousands of dollars in total, but thankfully news reports and official complaints of the morally questionable request spurred an "inquiry" by the Treasury Department's Office of the Inspector General. The OIG informed reporters that Mnuchin's request was unusual, as government planes are usually used by cabinet members only in "extreme" situations.
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) had less diplomatic words for the treasury secretary.
"That is just slap-your-forehead stuff," he told ABC News. "You don't have to look at some kind of government ethics report to know that it is just flagrantly wrong."
On Wednesday, a spokesperson for the Treasury said that Mnuchin's request had stemmed from his concern about maintaining "secure communications" with the White House while flying to and from his honeymoon destination. When he learned that he could do so without a government plane, he promptly withdrew his request.
"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," the spokesperson told NBC News. "Treasury withdrew its request after a secure communications option was identified during the Secretary's extended travel."
This is not the first time Mnuchin and Linton have come under fire for their misuse of government property. They flew to Kentucky in a U.S. jet for a conveniently-timed business trip during the historic solar eclipse, an outing that garnered public attention after Linton shared a boastful, brand-laden Instagram post.
The couple has every right to live the lavish lifestyle they are accustomed to, but it takes an amazing sense of entitlement to expect taxpayers to fund it.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters photographer Jonathan Ernst