As epublicans push for legislation that would cut taxes for the rich while increasing taxes on lower-income Americans, Trump’s treasury secretary said he was flattered to be compared to a James Bond villain.
Steve Mnuchin, a multimillionaire former Goldman Sachs banker, said he had no idea that a photograph of him and his wife posing with a sheet of newly printed money would go viral this week.
“I guess I should take that as a compliment that I look like a villain in a great, successful James Bond movie,” the treasury secretary told Fox News Sunday.
Mnuchin had invited his wife to join him for what is usually a routine photo opportunity of a treasury secretary examining currency being printed with his signature.
But the image from Wednesday’s event became an internet sensation. In the picture, Mnuchin and his wife, Louise Linton, a Scottish actor, smile at the camera while holding a sheet of $1 bills.
Linton wore an all-black outfit, complete with a pair of long black-leather gloves, and smiled archly at the camera, while Mnunchin beamed.
Mnuchin said he was “very excited” to have his signature on American money, calling it “a great privilege and a great honour”. The treasury secretary and his wife have in the past sparked controversy, including over reports that he had requested the use of a government jet for their honeymoon trip to Europe and scrutiny of a trip to Kentucky on a government plane during the solar eclipse this August.
When a commenter on Linton’s Instagram feed this summer suggested it was inappropriate of her to post a photograph of herself on an official trip and tag the expensive designer brands she was wearing, Linton lashed out in the comments section.
“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 wrote. “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.”
Linton later apologised, calling her post and her response to criticism “inappropriate and highly insensitive”. In 2016, before she married Mnuchin, Linton published a memoir of her gap year in Zambia, which was intensely criticised for its white saviour tropes and what some critics said were blatant factual errors, sparking the hashtag #LintonLies.
In response, Linton withdrew the book from publication and apologised, and a newspaper that had published an excerpt of the book also withdrew the article, headlined “How my dream gap year in Africa turned into a nightmare”, and apologised “for any misleading impression that may have been given”.
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