PEOPLE EXPLAINS: Who Is Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's Wife Louise Linton – And Why Is She Causing Controversy?
The woman currently at the center of the latest political controversy isn’t even a White House staffer.
Louise Linton – the wife of President Donald Trump’s Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin – is under fire for an Instagram post and comments she wrote about a lavish designer travel ensemble she wore for a trip on a U.S. government plane.
After sharing the image from her Kentucky trip with Mnuchin — in which she noted labels including Tom Ford, Hermès, Valentino and Roland Mouret — many were quick to comment on social media that the designer-touting post was distasteful. Linton responded to one poster’s message by attacking the woman’s family and personal wealth, writing, “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, 36, accompanied her husband to the southeastern state along with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, according to The New York Times. In the wake of the Instagram post, a government official told Bloomberg Politics that Mnuchin and Linton reimburse the government for transportation costs when she travels with her husband on official business trips. On Tuesday afternoon, Linton released a statement apologizing for the incident. “I apologize for my post on social media yesterday as well as my response,” the statement said. “It was inappropriate and highly insensitive.”
However, Linton has sparked concern in the past for going to congressional hearings and other events that officials’ spouses do not usually attend, according to The Washington Post.
And controversy followed Linton long before Mnuchin found his way to the White House. Here’s what you need to know about the Scottish-born woman.
She is an actress and producer.
According to Linton’s biography on her personal website, she’s appeared in a variety of big screen and television films, including Lifetime’s Willian & Kate in 2011, and Hallmark’s A Smile as Big as the Moon.
Other credits include the thriller Intruder, this year’s Serial Daters Anonymous, and the Warren Beatty-starring film Rules Don’t Apply.
In addition, Linton founded Stormchaser Films, an independent movie production company, in 2012. The company was one of several that Mnuchin said he divested from upon his treasury secretary nomination, according to Deadline.
She and Mnuchin just tied the knot in June – and the vice president officiated.
Linton and Mnuchin – who is 18 years her senior – officially tied the knot in June at the Andrew Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C., according to The Washington Post.
Vice President Mike Pence officiated the lavish ceremony, and a who’s who of the White House was in attendance – including the president, First Lady Melania Trump, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, and former Press Secretary Sean Spicer, reported the Post.
The couple first got engaged in 2015, and the marriage is Mnuchin’s third, and Linton’s second.
Linton previously showed off her engagement ring to Town & Country, revealing that she had initially picked out a similar, oval-style diamond ring while at Art Basel in Miami three years before Mnuchin proposed.
“It’s quite an old-fashioned shape but I love it,” said Linton.
Her memoir about her gap year in Africa was slammed by the Zambian government.
After self-publishing a memoir last year about her gap year in Zambia in the ’90s, Linton faced backlash from the country’s government, among others, reported The Washington Post.
The book – In Congo’s Shadow, which was co-written by Wendy Holden – categorized the six months Linton spent in Zambia when she was 18 as a “living nightmare,” and painted her as a “central character” in the Congolese war, the Post said.
After its release, the Zambian High Commission in London slammed the memoir, calling it “falsified,” and adding that Linton was “tarnishing the image of a very friendly and peaceful country,” The Scotsman reported at the time.
“It is a historic fact that Zambia has never been at war but rather has been home to thousands of refugees fleeing wars from other African countries,” the Zambian embassy said in a statement. “The Congo war has never spilt into Zambia.”
The embassy further blasted Linton for identifying and publishing photographs of children with HIV in the book.
Native Zambians also slammed Linton’s work, including poet and writer Lydia Ngoma, who told NPR, “Child soldiers in Zambia? Rebels violently crossing over into Zambian borders? Those are such shocking allegations that any Zambian will tell you did not happen. She mixes Zambia, Congo and Rwanda so many times leading to the generalization of Africa as ‘one big country’ — something we have been trying to fight for a while now.”
An excerpt of the story posted by The Telegraph was later removed, and Linton issued a public apology, according to the Scotsman.