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Annals Of Trumpian Populism

If this is right-wing populism, you can stick it where the sun don’t shine: [1]

Secretary Steven Mnuchin requested use of a government jet to take him and his wife on their honeymoon in Scotland, France and Italy earlier this summer, sparking an “inquiry” by The Treasury Department’s Office of Inspector General, sources tell ABC News.

Officials familiar with the matter say the highly unusual ask for a U.S. Air Force jet, which according to an Air Force spokesman could cost roughly $25,000 per hour to operate, was put in writing by the secretary’s office but eventually deemed unnecessary after further consideration of by Treasury Department officials.

Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, said in an interview with ABC News that Mnuchin’s request for a government jet on his honeymoon defies common sense.

“You don’t need a giant rulebook of government requirements to just say yourself, ‘This is common sense, it’s wrong,'” Wyden said. “That’s just slap your forehead stuff.”

According to Fortune, Donald Trump’s Treasury Secretary, a former Goldman Sachs banker, is worth around $500 million. [2] And yet, he tried to stick the taxpayer with the cost of flying him and his bride overseas on their honeymoon.

The effrontery of that creep! You might remember his wife, Louise Linton, had a full let-them-eat-cake Instagram meltdown earlier this year when a plebeian criticized her for appearing to take a government jet on a fab getaway:

 

Blessed is the Democratic maker of campaign commercials who gets to work with material like this in 2018 and 2020.

Chris Arnade, who traveled over 100,000 miles around the US during the campaign season talking to poor and working-class Americans, wrote days before the 2016 election: [3]

The first voter I heard mention Donald Trump’s name was a mechanic in a small town near my upstate New York home. It was days after Trump announced his run, and I was at the start of a drive across the United States.

The man, like many Trump supporters then, didn’t want his name used or his picture taken. An outraged press was loudly mocking Trump and he was embarrassed. But he was clear why he would vote for Trump. “There’s no American dream for anyone who isn’t a lawyer or banker,” he said. “Everyone else, we are getting a raw deal. Immigrants are taking all our jobs.”

And yet, that man’s vote got him a Treasury Secretary worth half a billion dollars who expects people like him to pay for him and his actress wife to jet off to Europe for a honeymoon. Ain’t that America…

31 Comments (Open | Close)

31 Comments To "Annals Of Trumpian Populism"

#1 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On September 13, 2017 @ 8:35 pm

You don’t get to be a Goldman Sachs executive worth $500 million by paying your own way. You get there by viewing the world as your oyster. Of course the same is true of his boss.

Trump TALKED a crude sort of populism, although he would never have won the People’s Party nomination. But his cabinet has no pretense of populism. At most, some of his advisers may have, and they’ve been purged.

#2 Comment By Brendan On September 13, 2017 @ 8:43 pm

Do you really think it makes much of an impact on his base?

I mean Trump himself is a billionaire who grew up wealthy, has milked the system through bankruptcies and sharp business practices, has been married (and is married) to models, flew around on his own personal jet, etc., etc. … Yet this had no impact whatsoever on his base seeing him as a populist icon. None whatsoever.

I think sometimes (often?) you can fall into the same trap that the MSM has about Trump. People like you and me may vehemently disagree with most of them about a large number of things, but culturally we are more similar to them than dissimilar. And we all have mostly the same reaction to Trump as populist — it seems absolutely absurd. Almost beyond absurd.

Yet his base does not see him that way at all. And I don’t think they care about that aspect of Trump as long as he can plausibly present himself as their Tribune. Even in that Facebook comment thread, there are Trumpians defending Linton and Mnuchin. I really don’t think his base cares much about stuff like this, or at least that they care a billion times less than people like you, me, and most media people about it. They don’t care as long as the administration shakes its angry fist at … someone they are angry at.

Should that be people like Mnuchin? Yes, it should. But because he’s under Trump, all is well in Trumpian land. Louise Linton may be a much prettier version of Marie Antoinette, but I doubt almost anyone in Trump’s base cares, and that’s clearly what Trump himself cares about.

#3 Comment By Adamant On September 13, 2017 @ 8:43 pm

Rod, please. I was in Youngstown, OH just the other day, and some very nice folks at a diner assured me that actions like this are an essential part of the 68-dimensional chess needed to drain the swamp. He’s got those globalists right where he wants them.

Republicans, Democrats, nationalist, Libertarians or vegetarians: Goldman effing Sachs always comes out ahead, always remains in charge.

Second look at guillotines?

#4 Comment By Wes On September 13, 2017 @ 9:03 pm

1. He requested but wasn’t allowed. Good. Done.

2. Right wing populists don’t hate rich people so talking up Mnuchins wealth doesn’t chnage many hearts.

[NFR: It’s not his wealth that’s the problem. It’s his exalted sense of privilege, and his not seeing anything particularly wrong with scrounging off the taxpayer like that. — RD]

#5 Comment By Michelle On September 13, 2017 @ 11:00 pm

The ability of Trump voters to defend his hypocrisy never ceases to amaze me or to make my skin crawl. Brendan is absolutely right. His base doesn’t care. As long as Trump appears to be giving the finger to all the right people, they’re down with him.

Mnuchin, like Trump, has a long history of screwing over the little people. He foreclosed on some poor old woman over a banking mistake of less than $1. Basically, he’s parasitic scum. Thrice-married parasitic scum. But he’s Trump’s buddy, so all is good.

#6 Comment By Charlieford On September 13, 2017 @ 11:45 pm

“According to Fortune, Donald Trump’s Treasury Secretary, a former Goldman Sachs banker, is worth around $500 million. And yet, he tried to stick the taxpayer with the cost of flying him and his bride overseas on their honeymoon.”

I had (now both passed) an aunt and uncle of great wealth (our family was connected by marriage). Old money. Real old money. Piling it up since the 1600s old money. Dined with QE II when she came in the 1980s kind of money.

We went out to dinner with them once. All they talked about was money, investments, etc. When the bill came, he studied it like a falcon.

I came away realizing that maybe folk who have a lot of money have a lot of money because they pay a lot of attention to getting money, saving money, all things money.

In other words, Mnuchin’s attempt here doesn’t surprise me at all. If you can make/save money, you make/save money. That’s the prime directive.

#7 Comment By MikeCA On September 14, 2017 @ 12:00 am

Trump & his administration are (according to the true believers) sticking it to all the liberals and really,what’s better than liberal tears? His base are too invested in him at this point to challenge anything he does. Besides,it’s all fake news anyhow,don’t you know anything? *tongue firmly in cheek*

#8 Comment By Loudon is a Fool On September 14, 2017 @ 12:45 am

OMG Rod, you’re totally right. And this is just like that quintillionth exotic vacation that Barry Bamz and his famz took that Foxnews told me about that totally got me hot under the collar and I am just as hot right now!!! Get me my pitchfork!! There is no fighting in the war room!!! Interestingly, I recently watched the execrable film version of CHiPs and when I saw the producing credit “Steve Mnuchin” asked myself “Uhhh, is that our Treasury Secretary?” It’s a brave new world, baby.

#9 Comment By Jonah R. On September 14, 2017 @ 1:05 am

This so neatly confirms my biases that if I’m being intellectually honest, I have to wonder if it’s even true. Isn’t there a chance that ABC News published what is essentially a rumor for a similar reason?

[NFR: It’s not a rumor. This is what the Treasury Dept’s Inspector General found. — RD]

#10 Comment By charles cosimano On September 14, 2017 @ 3:31 am

It won’t make a bit of difference to the voters.

#11 Comment By Jefferson Smith On September 14, 2017 @ 6:06 am

There were three things that were obvious about Trump last year while he was running:

(a) he’s a con artist
(b) he’s an entitled plutocrat who admires plutocrats
(c) he’s a militarist (as Dan Larison aptly puts it)

The problem was that he sometimes said things that seemed to contradict (b) and (c). So if you were too dumb to see (a), you could convince yourself he was an anti-interventionist who would drain the swamp. In other words, you willingly became one of his marks.

#12 Comment By muad’dib On September 14, 2017 @ 7:32 am

but, her emails…

Anyone was better than the witch for Chappaqua…

Any surprises here? Only 4 Goldman-Sachs alums in the cabinet now that Bannon has been fired…

2. Right wing populists don’t hate rich people so talking up Mnuchins wealth doesn’t chnage many hearts.

Yeah, they do… They hate anyone who isn’t like them, and resent people who they perceive as being better them especially if they believe that they could do whatever it is that made those people wealthy. They are the text book definition of the Dunning–Kruger effect.

#13 Comment By B K On September 14, 2017 @ 7:37 am

Shouldn’t my opinion of the Treasury Secretary at least have something to do with how he is doing his job as Treasury Secretary?

#14 Comment By Uncle Billy On September 14, 2017 @ 7:52 am

Trump is an arrogant billionaire, but his base does not seem to care, so long as he sticks it to the Mexicans, Muslims, liberals, etc.

Trump is not wise, but he is clever. He realized that both parties have abandoned the white working class and he went after it, hammer and tongs.

The GOP establishment hates him but they are stuck with him, so here we are. Mnuchin is much like his boss: very wealthy, arrogant and married to a hot model. This annoys liberals which endears Trump & Co. all the more to the base.

At the end of the day, Trump will do little for his base in the way of economic policies, but they don’t seem to care, so long as he sticks it to the Mexicans and Muslims. This says more about Trump’s so called base, than it does about him.

#15 Comment By Potato On September 14, 2017 @ 8:11 am

“Mrs” Mnuchin (do I rightly suspect that, given the ages and the wealth involved here, that there is a divorce or divorces in someone’s past, if not everyone’s past?) should put on a shirt before allowing anyone to photograph her. No, an actual shirt, some garment that covers up her breasts.

He is fully clothed. She is half naked. What’s wrong with this picture?

/catty off

#16 Comment By Rick67 On September 14, 2017 @ 8:12 am

Blessed is the Democratic maker of campaign commercials who gets to work with material like this in 2018 and 2020.

Dang, Rod… somebody’s been mining the text critical apparatus of the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament. I blame a time traveler who must have dropped a fragment from Matthew 5.

#17 Comment By fiestamom On September 14, 2017 @ 8:14 am

An in-kind contribution to Bernie 2020.

Trump supporters don’t mind if Trump does this. They (we?) all know how tacky he is, it’s built in. But for his clueless underlings to do this is beyond stupid.

#18 Comment By russ On September 14, 2017 @ 9:54 am

@Brendan: What’s the maximum salary one can have while still being a populist?

@Adamant: The most interesting thing you said was this: “I was in Youngstown, OH just the other day, and some very nice folks at a diner assured me”

You talk to strangers in the diner about politics? How do you get there in conversation? Maybe Fox News or CNN was on in the background?

#19 Comment By GB On September 14, 2017 @ 10:06 am

The more stories I hear like this along with the “his base won’t abandon him” addendum . . .

the more I think his base is actually stupid. As in truly logically-challenged stupid. As in couldn’t pass a citizenship or Civil Service exam test if their lives depended on it stupid. As in people that are a net loss to our nation financially and productivity-wise stupid. As in unable to make concrete steps to improve their lives stupid. As in no wonder there’s an opioid epidemic stupid.

I hate to sound that harsh (some of these folks are friends!) but that’s just how it looks. SMH.

#20 Comment By russ On September 14, 2017 @ 10:21 am

Wow, this comment thread is almost driving me to Trump’s side. Bunch of people holding forth on What It All Means about Trump supporters. I bet you who are doing this have been Dead Wrong about many things political of late, and yet you’re so confident in yourself. Makes me wonder who the stupid rubes really are in this game.

To the specifics of the topic at hand. So, a dirty millionaire associated with Trump gets caught attempting to use public tax money for personal pleasure. Trump’s Treasury Department catches his request and shuts it down. Trump and his supporters are responsible for the rich a-hole’s behavior but not for the effectiveness of the Treasury Department’s good work? Clear as mud.

#21 Comment By Callinectes sapidus On September 14, 2017 @ 10:39 am

It is virtually impossible to explain to commoners, like myself, how Mr. Mnuchin and his oh-so-haute and haughty wife could have the gall to make such a request. This is the absolute pinnacle of elitist behavior. People like Mr. and Mrs. Mnuchin belong in special enclaves where they are treated with the respect they so richly deserve.

#22 Comment By Tom S On September 14, 2017 @ 10:41 am

Oh FFS! If this had happened with an Obama cabinet member, the same people who are twisting themselves into logical knots to say it’s OK would be howling for a resignation instanter.

#23 Comment By Anonymous On September 14, 2017 @ 11:33 am

His new wife seems awful. I don’t know his first wife, but she seemed at least a little more down-to-earth, in a Hamptons sort of way.

#24 Comment By JonF On September 14, 2017 @ 1:23 pm

Russ,

The underlying point is that Trump, who certainly posed as a Very Different Guy, should never have appointed this rich anal orifice in the first place. Where is it written that the SecTreas must be a Goldman alumnus? People were upset about Obama’s abasement to the Great Vampire Squid after all, why shouldn’t they be just as annoyed over Trump’s?

#25 Comment By BlairBurton On September 14, 2017 @ 1:24 pm

@GB: The more stories I hear like this along with the “his base won’t abandon him” addendum . . .the more I think his base is actually stupid.

Stupid, or ignorant including willfully ignorant, or deluded, and there are a few deplorables in there too. The country they say they want is never, ever coming back, if it was ever here in the first place, and I say that as someone who remembers the 1950s, and who grew up in a small town in southern West Virginia.

We are in deep, deep trouble.

#26 Comment By kitchen timer On September 14, 2017 @ 1:43 pm

I was sad to see Pence officiated at their wedding. Those two (Mnuchin and third wife) deserve each other.

It does seem to be a problem that only obscenely rich people with terrible values understand the management of these astronomical sums of government debt, taxation, and spending well enough to take on these high power jobs.

The guy just recommends raising the debt ceiling, and voila! money flows! while common people still bear the financial scars of his robo foreclosures. How much does he give to charity, and where?

#27 Comment By russ On September 14, 2017 @ 2:37 pm

@JonF:


The underlying point is that Trump, who certainly posed as a Very Different Guy, should never have appointed this rich anal orifice in the first place. Where is it written that the SecTreas must be a Goldman alumnus? People were upset about Obama’s abasement to the Great Vampire Squid after all, why shouldn’t they be just as annoyed over Trump’s?

I didn’t see much about his appointment before he made the great Faux Pas of requesting something he was denied, which likely doesn’t have much to do with whatever crony capitalist advice he’s giving the President. There are rich a-holes who are socialist, too, who would also do such things.

People can and should be upset with Trump for whatever reason they want. However, this wasn’t about whether this guy is qualified, or whether he’s a cabinet member a populist could appoint. This is about people pretending to understand “Trump’s base” because one of his appointees did a distasteful thing and failed at it due to Trump’s Treasury Department. That duck doesn’t float.

The national media pretending it’s some sort of unprecedented offense is likewise laughable.

My point is that Trump’s loudest critics, in the media and down among us common citizens, seem to be trying to keep apace of the President in his quest to lose credibility.

#28 Comment By Anonymous On September 14, 2017 @ 3:06 pm

Anonymous:

“I don’t know his first wife, but she seemed at least a little more down-to-earth, in a Hamptons sort of way.”

I guess I was actually referring to his second wife and the mother of his three children. I didn’t know he had a third wife. Geez.

#29 Comment By AtomicZeppelinMan On September 14, 2017 @ 7:51 pm

At what point do the Conservatives of The American Conservative magazine realize that all the intellectual trappings they have long tried to pin to anti-democratic, racist and theocratic Beast of Tradition were never more that perfume to mask the stench? At this point any sane American should see this as an existential war for the soul of America and all the bellyaching about Hillary’s emails and Liberal Identity Politics is counterproductive. As a Progressive Liberal Atheist, I am even frequently embarrassed by the Occupy Mom’s Basement Brigade. But those punks are just that: punk-ass kids. The Regressive Oligarchs of the Confederacy are far more powerful and have dark plans for all of us.

#30 Comment By russ On September 15, 2017 @ 9:21 pm

I once saw Beast of Tradition open for Regressive Oligarchs of the Confederacy. Sick show.

–An insane American

#31 Comment By EngineerScotty On September 15, 2017 @ 10:01 pm

[NFR: It’s not his wealth that’s the problem. It’s his exalted sense of privilege, and his not seeing anything particularly wrong with scrounging off the taxpayer like that. — RD]

And this differs from Mnuchin’s boss how exactly?