Mnuchin asked to use a government jet for his honeymoon

Posted at 8:44 PM, Sep 13, 2017

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin asked the White House about the possibility of using a government jet for his European honeymoon this summer but later withdrew the request.

A Treasury Department spokesperson told CNN in a statement that Mnuchin made the request to ensure he had access to secure lines of communication when he and his new wife, Louise Linton, were traveling.

"Treasury withdrew its request after a secure communications option was identified during the Secretary's extended travel," the spokesperson said Wednesday.

Treasury said it has a practice of considering a "wide range of options" to ensure Mnuchin has access to secure communications, including the possible use of military aircraft.

The Treasury spokesperson said it was "imperative" that Mnuchin, who is a member of the National Security Council and directly involved with national security issues tied to North Korea, Iran, and Venezuela, could communicate securely.

ABC News was the first media outlet to report the Secretary's request.

When asked if there was a review of the request, an official with the Treasury Department's Inspector General, which investigates allegations of wrongdoing within the agency, told CNN Wednesday "We are looking at all requests and uses of government aircraft."

A White House spokesperson declined to comment and directed questions to Treasury.

This is not the first time a trip by the former Goldman Sachs banker has raised eyebrows.

Another trip by Mnuchin and his wife to Kentucky last month is already under review by the Treasury Department's Inspector General.

Jaws dropped in August when Linton posted a picture of herself on Instagram stepping out of a U.S. government plane. She had tagged a series of luxury designers such as Hermes, Tom Ford and Valentino to describe her expensive clothing. Social media pounced on the post and called it ostentatious.

Mnuchin's trip to Kentucky included a stop at a chamber luncheon in Louisville and Fort Knox, where he, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and others watched the Aug. 21 eclipse.

The Treasury Department has previously defended Mnuchin's trip as "official government travel" and denied that viewing the eclipse was the primary purpose of the trip.

Instead, the agency said the government aircraft was used to facilitate the secretary's travel schedule and ensure uninterrupted access to secure communications.

"The Department of the Treasury sought and received the appropriate approval from the White House. Secretary Mnuchin has reimbursed the government for the cost of Ms. Linton's travel in accordance with the longstanding policy regarding private citizens on military aircraft," a Treasury spokesperson told CNN earlier this month.