Elle magazine’s fascinating profile of Louise Linton — wife of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin — might make you pine for the days of the guillotine.
The profile, which is featured in the magazine’s March 2018 issue, features a photo of Linton wearing no pants and caressing a pair of expensive Christian Louboutin high heels while flashing the smug smile of a woman born into significant wealth, who married into unimaginable wealth. While 16.6 million American households have a negative net worth, Linton’s photo is the perfect contrast, as it adequately depicts a 37-year-old who’s never had to worry about money since she was a zygote.
One of the first things mentioned in the feature is, of course, Linton’s guillotine-worthy response to an Instagram commenter who called her “deplorable” after Linton posted a photo of herself walking off of a government jet wearing expensive designer clothes and accessories from head to toe.
“Did you think this was a personal trip?! Adorable! Do you think the US govt paid for our honeymoon or personal travel?! Lololol,” Linton wrote in the now-deleted post. “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?”
“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 continued.
Of course, Linton lamented to Elle writer Carrie Battan that she wished she had never responded to the commenter, adding that she was “super-duper sorry” that she came off as a French aristocrat before the guillotine.
“I think after being kicked and slapped on social media a billion times, I had this one time. This lady said I was a deplorable human being, and that hurt,” Linton says, her voice trembling in sincere horror and self-pity. Her hands are shaking. “So I had this knee-jerk reaction and I was like…blarghhhh. I was feeling like a regular person. And regular people, when someone says something mean to you on social media, regular people are allowed to respond.”
Perhaps the richest part of the magazine’s profile of Linton was the anecdotes from friends and family, and Battan’s so-subtle-you-almost-don’t-notice jabs at Linton’s overwhelming privilege throughout the article. One of Linton’s attempts to humanize herself to readers involved sharing her love of dogs to Battan. Without a hint of irony, Linton told a story of how she befriended a homeless man in a park in Los Angeles — but not for the reason you would think.
“[Linton] is obsessed with dogs, especially sick ones. So much so that she once made friends with a homeless man named Richard in a park in Los Angeles because she was concerned about the health of his dog,” Battan wrote. “[Linton] wound up paying the vet bill.”
While the magazine included a quote from Richard, who had nothing but nice things to say about Linton given his dog’s affection for her, it’s worth noting that it was never mentioned whether or not Linton had any pity for the homeless man’s health or well-being, and that while she paid his dog’s vet bill, she made no apparent effort to find him permanent shelter despite her and her husband’s personal wealth (Mnuchin has a net worth of approximately $300 million) or her undoubtedly thick rolodex of government contacts.
The Elle profile also makes no mention of whether or not Linton offered her homeless friend one of the nine bedrooms in the sprawling $12.6 million, 15,902 sq ft. Mnuchin mansion, located in a pricey Washington, DC ZIP code so opulent that Maximilien Robespierre himself might emerge from the grave and build a guillotine specifically for its residents.
Another source Battan interviewed for her profile was Shona Hampel — the daughter of a British diplomat who has been Linton’s best friend for more than two decades. When the profile mentioned a tone-deaf book Linton wrote about her being a white savior to poor disease-stricken children in Zambia (which she later pulled from print after it was universally mocked) Hampel casually explained that of course Linton was a little oblivious, given that she was was born and raised in a fucking castle.
“Louise was blessed and fortunate enough to be raised in a Scottish castle, and to not understand the reality of some human beings with a different background,” Hampel said.
Maybe the most obtuse part of Linton’s interview was when she spoke earnestly about her patriotism and the call to serve her country while simultaneously saying she was apolitical. Given how she described taking a taxpayer-funded trip to Kentucky — where 18 percent of residents live in poverty — while wearing a $15,000 outfit as “sacrifice” in the viral Instagram comment, Linton may view patriotism simply as matching red-bottom Louboutin shoes with a white Hermes scarf and a blue Roland Mouret jacket.
[W]hen the Trump campaign came knocking—first, to offer Mnuchin a role leading campaign financing—they felt powerless not to heed the call of American citizens …
It’s easy to imagine that a couple, financially secure and happily working in the film industry in Los Angeles, would want to stay far away from the chaos of such a turbulent political operation. But Linton remembers it as a no-brainer. “It wasn’t a long deliberation because I think he felt incredibly honored to have the opportunity to serve the country. And I felt good because I know him so well, and I feel safe, knowing that the economy is in his hands.” …
I ask Linton if she’s interested in politics. “Oh God, no. I am not in politics. I have nothing to do with politics.”
The Elle profile is also full of choice quotes from an oblivious Linton, who still manages to pity herself despite being born into wealth, pestering her father to pay for her to attend the palatial Pepperdine University on the breathtaking Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, California, and having a wedding officiated by the Vice President of the United States that was so extravagant that Town & Country Magazine did an entire feature-length piece on the diamond-encrusted jewelry she wore with her designer wedding gown. Linton even managed to sound forlorn about never again being able to wear the outfit pictured in the viral photo of her touching a sheet of money in arm-length gloves like a Bond villain.
Read the full profile here, if you can stomach it.
Jake Shepherd is a freelance writer from Cleveland, Ohio. He enjoys poring through financial disclosure statements, spirited debate, and good scotch. He remains eternally optimistic about the Browns. Email him at jake.d.shepherd.21 (at) hotmail (dot) com.