The wife of the U.S. Treasury secretary, Louise Linton, has called the Instagram picture she posted last month and the subsequent comments-section argument she got into with a follower “indefensible.”
In August, Linton posted on Instagram bragging about flying on a government plane to Kentucky with her husband, and she tagged high-end fashion brands — like Hermès, Tom Ford and Valentino — in her photo. Followers quickly posted comments on the post, calling Linton distasteful and questioning why taxpayers were funding a trip for her and her husband.
Linton fired back, attacking one specific commenter who she called “adorable” for thinking the trip to Kentucky was personal and claiming she and her husband “sacrifice” more than the average taxpayer.
“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? 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,” she wrote in the comments.
She apologized through her publicist a day later and said in a recent interview with Washington Life magazine that she “concede(s) completely to the comments” of her critics.
“My post itself and the following response were indefensible. Period. I don’t have any excuses, nor do I feel any self-pity for the backlash I experienced,” she said. “I sincerely take ownership of my mistake. It’s clear that I was the one would was truly out of touch and my response was reactionary and condescending.”
The Scottish actress, who is married to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, acknowledged she had “no place” talking about sacrifice.
“My husband is very fortunate to be part of the government. It is a great honor and privilege and in no way is his work, or my part in this, any kind of sacrifice,” she said in the cover story interview, where she posed in a series of ball gowns.
She said she understood why the post became newsworthy, admitted it was “boastful and materialistic” and said she made the post because she was trying to create “this public image that was elegant and stylish.” She said she regretted what she said and should have stuck with posting about the causes she cares about on social media, like animal rescues.
“I feel like I deserved the criticism and my response is ‘thanks for waking me up quickly and for turning me back in the right direction.’ My response is ‘I’m sorry,’” she said.