“I felt like the kid on the playground that has been so bullied, and finally you punch back,” the wife of the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury said in a recent ‘Elle’ profile, in which she also discussed the prospect of reality TV.
After apologizing for an Instagram rant in August, Louise Linton explained in a recent profile by Elle why she felt the need to assert that a critical commenter on one of her posts didn’t contribute or sacrifice as much for the U.S. as she did.
“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 in the critical new profile of the actress and wife of secretary of the treasury, Steven Mnuchin.
Last summer, after Linton posted a picture on Instagram showing her descending from a government plane with her husband in Kentucky and tagging several high-end fashion labels, one commenter wrote, “Glad we could pay for your little getaway. #deplorable.” Linton replied, asking, “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?”
“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,” Linton said to Elle. “I felt like the kid on the playground that has been so bullied, and finally you punch back.”
Linton has previously been attacked on social media for her book In Congo’s Shadow: One Girl’s Perilous Journey to the Heart of Africa, which some criticized for espousing an exoticized view of Africa and engendering fear of the country. She also drew criticism for a picture she posted of herself and Mnuchin holding up a case of dollar bills at the U.S. Treasury, in which she is wearing black gloves, which some likened to an image of Darth Vader or a Bond villain.
“I wasn’t thinking about who I am,” Linton told Elle of the Treasury photo. “I wasn’t thinking, I am the wife of this person and thus I should act like the wife of this person.”
Mnuchin himself responded to the social-media dustup in the new story, saying to the magazine, “I think social media has made her misunderstood and she is not at all the person that has been portrayed. She has a huge heart, is sensitive, deeply compassionate, and kind. She has humility and gentleness. She’s also funny and makes people laugh.… She loves gadgets and has a bird feeder in the backyard. She reads John Stuart Mill and writes notes in the margins of her books. She’s an incredibly warm and loving person.”
Linton said that the picture was the result of poor social-media strategy. “I was tagging things [on Instagram] because I thought I had seen other actresses doing that, and I was like, I should do that, too. I should be more fashionable. I need to play that role; I need to be more elegant; I need to be more stylish,” she said. “I look at amazing fashion icons like Jackie O and I’m like, Why can’t I wear gloves?”
Linton also said that she’s been approached to do a reality series in the past few months, a prospect which she found “super-duper” scary. At another point, she used the same adjective to describe her gaffes in what Elle‘s writer called “her self-presentation.”
The story also addressed why Mnuchin decided to leave his home and job in Los Angeles, where he was an influential film financier, to work for the Trump administration. “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,” Linton said.
Linton additionally called herself and her husband “movie buffs” and said her favorite film in recent memory was the Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone starrer Crazy, Stupid Love.