Update, Sept. 5: After making headlines for her Marie Antoinette Instagram moment online last month, Louise Linton, wife of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has spoken out publicly for the first time since earning a brutal backlash for chastising a “tax-paying American” who called out her lavish lifestyle.
“I see the irony of making an apology in a ball gown. But it would be dishonest to proclaim that I’m never going to go to another social function,” Linton told Washington Life magazine, a lifestyle publication that chronicles the lives of Washington’s socialites, in an interview that was published Tuesday.
The article is complemented by a handful of full-page fashion photographs of Linton featuring the former Scottish actress posing in expensive ball gowns posing in lavish places around the Washington mansion she shares with husband Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs executive.
“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.
Linton stirred controversy on Aug. 21 when she posted a photo of herself and Mnuchin stepping off of a government jet as they returned to Washington from a day trip to Kentucky to visit the Federal Reserve. Linton, clad in designer labels from head to toe, took the opportunity to throw some shout-outs to the designers she was wearing.
“Great #daytrip to #Kentucky! #nicest #people #beautiful #countryside #rolandmouret pants #tomford sunnies, #hermesscarf #valentinorockstudheels #valentino #usa,” Linton wrote in her now-deleted Instagram post.
Linton’s Hermes “Birkin” bag alone retails for $10,000, according to CNN.
After a “taxpaying” American called Linton out on her inappropriate use of her public platform to tag designers, Linton deleted the tags and eventually the entire post, but not before responding to Jennifer Miller, the Oregon mother of three who called her out, calling her “adorably out of touch.”
The response earned Linton swift and brutal backlash and she was forced to respond to what some called her “let them eat cake” attitude, a reference to the last Queen of France before the French Revolution who, when told her people could not afford to buy bread, famously said of revolting peasants, “Let them eat cake.”
In the Washington Life article, Linton back pedaled her language saying, “It’s clear that I was the one who was truly out of touch and my response was reactionary and condescending. I wish I hadn’t spoken in such a patronizing tone,” she said.
Update, Aug. 25: The Oregon mother of three who was mocked and poor-shamed by Louise Linton, wife of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, is speaking up.
“My friends and family will tell you that I have a big heart and am very caring, but that I’m also snarky and unafraid to call things like I see them,” Jennifer Miller wrote in an open letter to Linton published on CNN on Wednesday. “I did that to Louise Linton on Instagram the other day, referring to her post about her designer labels as ‘deplorable.'”
On Monday, Linton posted a photograph of her and Mnuchin exiting a government jet after visiting Kentucky on official business. Linton grabbed the opportunity to promote not one, but four designers she was wearing — an unusual, if not inappropriate move by a cabinet secretary’s wife. In response, Miller, who said she barely even knew who Linton was at the time, responded saying, “Glad we could pay for your little getaway. #deplorable.”
Linton went on a lengthy rant in which she mocked and poor-shamed Miller, who describes herself as a “hardworking, tax-paying American.”
“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,” Linton wrote. (Entire post included below).
Linton later apologized, but it’s too little, too late in Miller’s opinion.
“While she has since apologized for her insensitive post, nothing she says now can negate the fact that her initial response to my frustration was to continue bragging about her wealth and to allege that her contributions to society have been more significant than mine,” Miller wrote on CNN.
In her response to Miller on Instagram, Linton called Miller “adorably out of touch,” something Miller said she found laughable.
“I don’t think she has any idea what everyday Americans deal with, especially when it comes to economic struggles. Since her husband is secretary of the treasury, it behooves her to find out,” Miller said of the Scottish actress.
“My message: You’re a prominent person now, Linton, so please use your influence for good,” Miller continued.
Update, Aug. 23: Louise Linton, the wife of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, said she’s sorry for her #gauche Instagram tantrum in which she called a mom from Oregon “adorably out of touch” because she makes less money than the Mnuchins.
“I apologize for my post on social media yesterday as well as my response. It was inappropriate and highly insensitive,” Linton said in a statement from her publicist, CNN reported.
Louise Linton, millionaire wife of treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin, attacked an Oregon mother for “being out of touch” while simultaneously mocking her on social media for not being wealthy enough.
It was one of the greatest “Let them eat cake” moments Instagram has ever seen.
On Monday night, Linton posted a now-deleted photo of her and her treasury secretary husband getting off an Air Force jet, hair blowing in the wind. Linton took the opportunity to tag the designers she was wearing.
“Great #daytrip to #Kentucky! #nicest #people #beautiful #countryside #rolandmouret pants #tomford sunnies, #hermesscarf #valentinorockstudheels #valentino #usa,” Linton wrote.
Ironically, it wasn’t Linton’s horrendous misuse of hashtags that got her in trouble — it was the fact that she was treating a supposed trip for official government business like a runway fashion shoot.
Linton, a Scottish actress, has tagged and promoted designers in previous Instagram posts, but the practice is unusual, if not unprecedented, for the wife of a Cabinet secretary, especially one who is fifth in line for the presidency — especially in a post featuring the pair away on government travel.
— Margarita Noriega (@margarita) August 22, 2017
And — shocker — the move was met with pushback from her followers.
“Please don’t tag your Hermes scarf. Distasteful,” Instagram user Emily.e.dickey wrote.
“Glad we could pay for your little getaway. #deplorable,” wrote jennimiller29.
In response, Linton appeared to examine jennimiller29’s Instagram feed, making note of the Oregon mother’s family and children in a long response filled with classist attacks. The Scottish actress has since made her Instagram account private.
“@Jennimiller29 cute!….Aw!! Did you think this was a personal trip?! 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? 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. You’re adorably out of touch. Thanks for the passive aggressive nasty comment. Your kids look very cute. Your life looks cute. I know you’re mad but deep down you’re really 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. Have a pleasant evening. Go chill out and watch the new game of thrones. It’s fab!”
OK, so it’s the all-American mom who’s out of touch here? Got it.
Kimberly M. Aquilina contributed to this report.