On Thursday, Los Angeles magazine published an interview with Louise Linton, the wife of Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. Linton, a wannabe actress, got some bad press for her out-of-touch Instagram posts and dressing like a super villain while holding sheets of cash. This isn’t her first comeback, or even her second, but apparently Linton is still sad about how mean people were to her two years ago.
In the interview by editor-in-chief Maer Roshan, which is accompanied by a sexy photoshoot, Linton bemoans the scrutiny she’s been put under as the wife of a corrupt official in the worst administration in American history.
“It sucks being hated,” she tells Roshan from what he describes as a “massive Bel Air mansion.”
“Most people know me for the gloves or that awful Instagram post,” she adds. “Look, I made some rookie mistakes.”
The interview is a puff piece. Roshan calls Linton “laid-back and funnier” in real life, and he praises her “egalitarian” clothing (she wears H&M!). He asks her about growing up in a wealthy Scottish family, marrying into another rich guy’s family, her pets, and her veganism.
When the interview does finally get down to politics, Linton tries to pass herself off as a bystander with no power to influence the administration, or even comment on it.
“I respect that my husband makes decisions he feels are sensible and intelligent,” she says. “In the same way, he doesn’t boss me around or tell me what to do with my business or my life. It’s not my place to give him political advice.”
OK, sure, but this stupid Killing Eve-ripoff movie you’re in isn’t exactly life and death for millions of people.
Linton seems to completely miss that the reason people hate her isn’t just because she wears fancy clothes and made a few dumb comments on social media. Though there’s an element of sexism in picking on a hot blonde lady as the incarnation of evil, most sensible people hate her, rightly, because she is married to Mnuchin (though she sucked long before they got married). She is just as tainted by the Trump administration as anyone else, and it’s worse that she feels she shouldn’t speak out about it. As bizarre as it is that he and his wife are still together, at least George Conway publicly criticizes the administration on a regular basis.
Linton won’t even say that Trump’s policies are bad when they impact something she cares deeply about, like hunting endangered species. The most she’ll say is that it made her upset. When Roshan asks if she disagrees with the administration’s policies on LGBTQ people, she just talks about her gay “besties” and participating in the Pride Run. This, in the same interview in which she brags about Mike Pence officiating her wedding!
Linton’s deeply held belief in staying in her lane conveniently excuses her from actually having to put herself and her reputation on the line for any of her supposed values.
“Either I can express my beliefs and be at odds with my husband and his boss and get in trouble that way, or I can decline to comment and be in hot water with everyone else. Sucks either way,” Linton says.
That may be true, but it sucks a lot more for the real humans impacted by the administration. Linton may not have personally separated children from their families or banned Muslims from entering the country, but by politely sitting on the sidelines, she’s as complicit as anyone.
“There is a vast distinction between perception and reality when it comes to them,” Linton says. “I see them as people, not politicians. Why is it that we perceive people who are in politics as caricatures?”
Here, we finally get to the heart of the problem. Ultimately, Linton is a clueless, rich socialite who grew up in a literal fucking castle. She has never had to care about politics, because the status quo works great for her! By making excuses for her husband’s politics and pretending people hate her for her clothes and not her choices, Linton is just living her truth.
Roshan, on the other hand, is a journalist who made the decision to run this ridiculous piece and to frame it the way he did in the magazine he controls. He is culpable for glamorizing someone who directly benefits from Trump’s continued place in the White House, who could take a stand against him but decides to give it a pass. This is access journalism at its worst.
History isn’t going to look kindly on those who stood by and watched this administration’s actions because it “wasn’t their place” to do anything about it. Those who launder their reputations in the media by making life in the Trump administration look like a glamorous good time shouldn’t be let off the hook either.