Tag Archives: Steve Mnuchin

Oh, that POTUS is such a comedian

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has mounted a curious defense of Donald Trump’s penchant for profane name-calling.

He said the president “likes making funny names.”

Hey, Trump’s latest funny-name tirade this week included these two knee-slappers. He referred to “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd a “sleeping son of a bitch.” Oh, and then — at the same political rally in Pennsylvania — he described Democratic U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters as a “low-IQ individual.”

I cannot stop laughing. The president just cracks me up. What a card, a comedian. He needs to take his act on the road. Oh, wait! That’s what he did when he hurled those insults at (a) a prominent broadcast journalist and (b) a leader of the congressional Democratic caucus.

Mnuchin’s defense of Trump came, interestingly, on “Meet the Press,” the program Todd has moderated for the past several years. I didn’t watch it in real time. I’m quite sure that Todd didn’t crack up at Mnuchin’s defense of the president. Oh, no. Todd is too much of a pro to do something so stupid.

As Politico reports: “I’ve been with the president and at campaigns. You know, he likes to put names on people,” the Treasury secretary said. “He did that through the entire presidential election, including all of the Republicans that he beat. … These are campaign rally issues.” 

That is supposed to excuse the kind of hideous language that Trump spews? Give me a break.

“Campaign rally issues” often produce free-form rhetoric. However, we are talking here about the president of the United States of America. Isn’t this individual supposed to elevate the quality of political discourse?

HHS boss grounds those spendy private jets

There’s some of this going around the Trump administration.

The “this” is a penchant for spending lots of money needlessly. Taxpayer money, at that!

The latest perp happens to be Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Tom Price, who until just this weekend had been using private jets to travel to hither and yon to do the public’s business. What’s more, the public has been picking up the tab.

Secretary Price has grounded the private jets pending a government review of the practice. “We’ve heard the criticism. We’ve heard the concerns. We take that very seriously and have taken it to heart,” Price said.

Fair enough. This is a bad habit that has emerged during Donald J. Trump’s time in the White House.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin wanted the federal government to fly him and his new bride to a honeymoon location. I took note of that request in an earlier post and pointed out that Mnuchin is worth an estimated cool $500 million. I believe he could afford to pay for his own air transportation, although the secretary did mention “security concerns” as his reason for seeking government travel.

Back to Price for a moment.

Price’s travel habits came under scrutiny from Politico, which reportedly identified about $400,000 in private jet travel by Price since he took office earlier this year. Price hasn’t defended his use of private jets; indeed, he acknowledges the “optics don’t look good.”

While he was a Republican member of Congress, Price criticized then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s use of luxury jets to fly around the country. Pelosi in fact had access to government air travel, given that at the tsheecond in line of succession to the presidency. She was criticized correctly for her use of the luxury aircraft.

As Politico  has reported, Price’s use of these private jets breaks with recent custom: Price’s use ivate jets breaks with the practices of Obama administration HHS secretaries Sylvia Mathews Burwell and Kathleen Sebelius, who flew commercially while in the continental United States and deliberately avoided taking charter jets. HHS staff last year scrapped a proposal for Burwell to take a multi-city tour linked to the kickoff of annual Obamacare enrollment because the trip would have required charter aircraft and cost about $60,000. 

I just want to offer a word of caution here.

Everyone, it seems, is mindful these days of profligate spending at all levels of government. Secretary Price needs to re-calibrate his public-relations radar to ensure he can avoid getting caught in this PR trap. Don’t blow the public’s cash for the sake of convenience.

Even rich guys need a government hand, eh?

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is a mega rich fellow. He’s got more cash than he knows what to do with.

So, why does this guy ask the federal government to allow him to use a public airplane to jet him and his wife off on their honeymoon?

I probably shouldn’t even comment on this one. But now that I’ve opened this door, I’ll walk on through for just a moment.

The guy’s chutzpah is quite fascinating, don’t you think?

I mean, Mnuchin is worth about $500 million. That’s half a billion bucks, man! His wife, Louise Linton, got into a Twitter snit with a young woman who took her task after she boasted on social media about all the fashionable labels she wears. Sheesh, lady!

This little dust-up will fade away soon.

But I’ll just note that a government plane that would have jetted Secretary and Mrs. Mnuchin off to wherever they celebrated their marital bliss would have cost about $25,000 per hour.

I know that Donald Trump once said he prefers to surround himself with fellow rich people. He believes their wealth means they’re successful and that their success can transfer to sound public policy.

But, c’mon, Steve Mnuchin. Rich guys can afford to pay for their own jet plane rides to exotic honeymoon locales. Go ahead and show off your success, man … but just do it on your own dime — not mine!