Money can buy you a lot – but it can’t buy you diplomacy, as Louise Linton, the millionaire heir-turned-wife of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has discovered.
On Monday Linton posted an Instagram picture of herself and new hubby Mnuchin stepping out of a taxpayer-funded plane during his official visit to Fort Knox.
That wouldn’t have been a problem, of course, except for Linton’s questionable decision to segue from the standard cheerful hashtags to a systematic namedrop of all of the brands in her outfit.
‘Great #daytrip to #Kentucky!’ she wrote, according to New York Magazine journalist Yashar Ali. ‘#nicest #people #beautiful #countryside #rolandmouret pants #tomford sunnies #hermesscarf #valentinorockstudheels #valentino’.
She concluded with a perfuntory-looking ‘#usa’.
That didn’t sit well with Instagram user and mother-of-three jennimiller29, who commented: ‘Glad we could pay for your little getaway. #deplorable’
And things went downhill from there.
Follower of fashion: Louise Linton posted this photo (left) of her and new hubby Steven Mnuchin visiting Fort Knox – and hashtagged the brands she was wearing. That led to a scathing comment by user jennimiller29, and a long, angry response from Linton (right)
Private: After the fuss created by her remarks, Linton set her Instagram account to private – meaning that nobody could see or react to her posts unless she accepted them as a follower
In touch? Linton (seen wearing $30,000 of clothing with Mnuchin in Edinburgh at the start of their honeymoon) called the mother-of-three ‘out of touch’ and boasted about taxes she pays
‘Deplorable’: Miller went on the attack after Linton closed her Instagram account, dismissing her as ‘an aspiring Penthouse model.’ She added: ‘She says she’s a nice person. I doubt it. There weren’t any Nazi sympathizers at my wedding’
‘Cute! [kissing face emoji] Aw!!! Did you think this was a personal trip?!’ asked Linton, who recently concluded a Europe-trotting honeymoon with Mnuchin.
‘Adorable! 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?’ continued the minor TV and movie actress whose husband’s net worth was estimated by Forbes to be more than $500 million.
Tagged: Linton also posted an image without the hashtags, but with the brands (and her husband) tagged into the image. Her account is now set to ‘private’
‘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,’ she added – the quote marks around ‘trip’ being hers, despite the fact that she had hashtagged #daytrip in her initial comment.
‘Pretty sure that the amount we sacrifice per year is a lot more than you’d be willing to sacrifice if the choice was yours. [arm flex emoji, kissing face emoji]’ she continued.
Linton, who grew up in a castle in Scotland, then told the mother-of-three: ‘You’re adorably out of touch.’
She then used a heart-eyes emoji before writing, with no apparent irony, ‘Thanks for the passive-aggressive nasty comment.’
However, at that point the tone of her response changes abruptly, to be more positive and reconiliatory.
Perhaps she noticed how brusque she had been – but decided to leave the first part of the message in anyway.
‘Your kids look very cute,’ she wrote, ‘Your life looks cute. I know you’re mad but deep down you’re nice and so am I.
‘Sending me passive aggressive Instagram comments isn’t going to make life feel better. Maybe a nice message, one filled with wisdom and hunanity [sic] would get more traction.
LOUISE LINTON’S $15,000 WARDROBE
In the photo, Linton appeared to be wearing:
- A Hermes New Libris cashemere-and-silk stole worth $940
- Tom Ford Emma Cat-Eye Sunglasses worth $405
- Pink Valentino Rockstud Pumps worth $825
- Rouland Mouret’s white Ward Trousers, which retail for $925
- A white Hermes Birkin bag, which retail for $12,000-70,000 on Bags of Luxury
‘Have a pleasant evening. Go chill out and watch the new Game of Thrones. It’s fab!’
She later deleted the image and its attached comments, Ali said.
Another screengrab from account posted by a CNN journalist showed a second image of Linton and Mnuchin leaving the plane.
That one had apparently had the fashion hashtags removed – and had the fashion companies she’d name-dropped tagged in the picture itself instead.
As of Monday evening, Linton’s Facebook account had been set to private, and new followers were being screened before they were allowed to see the images.
Miller posted her own response on Instagram after the virtual encounter.
‘Apparently I offended this deplorable girl I had never heard of until today,’ she wrote alongside a screenshot of a June article titled ‘A “white savior” memoirist widely mocked in Africa has married Trump’s treasury secretary.’
‘According to my 20 second Google search, she’s an aspiring Penthouse model who married an old rich guy in a wedding officiated by a homophobe and attended by other couples of similar age and beauty gaps,’ Miller continued.
‘She says she’s a nice person. I doubt it. There weren’t any Nazi sympathizers at my wedding. #byelouise’
Mom: Mother-of-three Jenni Miller (seen left with her youngest son, and right) said she shouldn’t have let Linton upset her, and questioned why she would show off her expensive labels in a state where 19 per cent of people live below the poverty line
Spotted: Although it was ostensibly just a family visit, Mnuchin and Linton seemed happy to be photographed on the trip last month, before continuing on to mainland Europe
Miller told the New York Times that she regretted letting Linton rile her.
But she admitted that ‘If she hadn’t made her account private, I would have written back with a very snide Marie Antoinette joke.’
‘I think my post was just five or six words, and she had to go on basically a rant about it to make herself look more important and look smarter, better, richer – all those things’, she said.
She also told the paper that she didn’t understand why Linton had made such a fuss of her expensive labels while visiting Kentucky, where 19 per cent of the population live below the poverty line.
Miller also said that she thought Linton needed to be more in control of herself when responding to comments in the public eye.
‘It seems like she’s been in public life for a long time,’ she said. ‘It just seemed wholly inappropriate.’
The encounter between the two women led to complaints by others on Twitter, as users denounced Linton’s post and her response.
Angry: This user was angry that Linton had boasted about how much tax she pays, given the tax breaks and loopholes open to the rich, concluding ‘FOH’ – of ‘f**k outta here’
‘Corrupt’: Linton was described as corrupt by this user, although a White House spokesman said that Mnuchin paid for her flight on the government plane
‘”We pay more into the economy (despite it being a smaller percentage of our income than the middle class), therefore we are superior!”‘ responded user H.E.A.D. Shot.
They added ‘FOH’ – an acronym for ‘(get the) F**k outta here.’
And Anita E Weis wrote: ‘This is how they justify corruption: “We paid more in taxes for our trip than you did.” Not how it works, honey. @LouiseLinton’
Linton’s own Twitter account has been set to ‘protected,’ stopping outsiders from seeing it.
Her Wikipedia page was also edited to include the line ‘Never forget she posted this on Instagram’ with a link to a Tweet showing copies of the offending post and comment.
‘Never forget’: Linton’s Wikipedia page was also edited to include a link to a Twitter update with pictures of her offending Instagram post and comment
Newlyweds: Mnuchin and Linton are seen here at their wedding on June 24, with President Trump, the First Lady, and VP Mike Pence and his wife
A Treasury Department spokesman told The Washington Post that the Mnuchins paid for Linton’s travel on the flight, which was cleared on the proper channels.
He also said Linton didn’t get any ‘financial compensation’ for the items that she tagged in the image.
Mnuchin’s purpose for flying to Louisville was to promote Trump’s tax changes, which the administration says will relieve middle-class families.
Opponents say it will actually increase the burden on the middle classes while providing tax cuts to the extremely wealthy.
Linton has come under fire on Twitter before.
In July last year she released the book ‘In Congo’s Shadow: One Girl’s Perilous Journey to the Heart of Africa’ – a memoir that led to online ridicule and accusations of outright lying.
The book is billed as ‘the inspiring memoir of an intrepid teenager who abandoned her privileged life in Scotland’ and ‘a tale of lost innocence and one daring young girl’s bittersweet journey to the heart of Africa.’
Home away from home: Linton grew up in Melville Castle (pictured), which is based outside of Edinburgh in Scotland, and is owned by her family
In it, Linton writes about how she was terrified of what the rebels from Congo ‘would do to the “skinny white muzungu with long angel hair.”‘
She also claims that her gap year became ‘a living nightmare when I inadvertently found myself caught up in the fringes of the Congolese War.’
In one passage she describes how ‘armed rebels descended’ on her Zambian village from the neighboring Congo, forcing her to hide for fear of being raped or murdered.
Mockery: Linton (seen with Mnuchin in a $30k wardrobe in Edinburgh last month) has come under fire before, after her memoir about living in Africa on her gap year was mocked as misleading
But that passage – and others – were disputed after the release of the book by actual Zambians, who disputed her claims on Twitter with the hashtag #LintonLies.
Bornface wrote on Twitter: ‘Zambia in 1999 according to #LintonLies; -Monsoons -Civil War -Rebels -Jungles. I’ve been in the wrong Zambia all my life.’
Another, Mademoiselle Vu, wrote: ‘Years in Zambia and I figure out we had a hutu-tutsi conflict. Who am I? Where do I belong? #LintonLies’
Muchemwa Sichone said: ‘The only thing missing from the @LouiseLinton story is Tarzan and Mowgli. #Zambia is calling her out!’
And another user quoted one of Linton’s passages: ‘”The dense jungle canopy above me?” Zambia has savanna grasslands, not dense jungle. But I guess “English girl experience”.’
And in a lengthy Amazon review, user MoiZam claimed that he knew the people that Linton stayed with and that she was a ‘nightmare’.
‘Louise never encountered Congolese or Hutu/Tutsu rebels, Gerard Zytiv of Ndole Bay often gave the Congo troops food and water but they NEVER ATTACKED THE ZAMBIAN VILLAGES OR LODGES,’ he said.
‘Also we do NOT have jungle in Zambia, we have Miombo bushland, Moponi bushland and Savannah grasslands.
‘And we don’t have Monsoon rains, 12 inch rain spiders or lions and elephants running through our backyards.
‘This book is c***! What a shame someone could write such lies about a country as beautiful and diverse as Zambia is!
‘I was born here and lived here for all of my 53 years and I can tell you Zambia is nothing like the rubbish Loiuse has written! Shame on you Louise!!’
Linton apologized in a series of tweets, writing: ‘I am genuinely dismayed and very sorry to see that I have offended people as this was the very opposite of my intent.
‘I wrote with the hope of conveying my deep humility, respect and appreciation for the people of Zambia as an 18yr old in 1999.
‘I wrote about the country’s incredible beauty and my immense gratitude for the experiences I had there.’
Accused: Linton was accused of having a ‘white saviour complex’ and lying about a Congolese invasion of Zambia