Treasury Secretary Mnuchin Won’t Commit to Commercial Only Flights for Travel

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin declined Thursday to commit to only using commercial travel for the rest of his time at the agency after coming under fire for certain taxpayer-funded trips.

“I can promise the American taxpayer that the only time that I will be using mil air is when there are issues either for national security or we have to get to various different things where there’s no other means,” he said on CBS ‘This Morning.’

Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin follows President Donald Trump from Marine One to Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base September 27, 2017 in Maryland. (Credit: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin follows President Donald Trump from Marine One to Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base September 27, 2017 in Maryland. (Credit: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

“Mil air” is a shorthand for military air. Mnuchin has been scrutinized for requesting to use military planes for non-governmental travel, joining a number of Trump administration officials who have recently been criticized for their method of business and personal travel.

This summer, he asked the White House about the possibility of using a government jet for his European honeymoon this summer but later withdrew the request.

Another trip by Mnuchin and his wife, Louise Linton, 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 US 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, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and others watched the August 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.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt have also admitted to having used private and government planes for official government business.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos recently disclosed that she, too, uses private planes when conducing government business, but pays for them herself.