It has been far too long since America has heard from Louise Linton, wife of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
Linton, you may recall, became instantly notorious in August 2017 as a modern-day Marie Antoinette when she bragged on Instagram about her super-rich lifestyle, and then mocked one of her online critics—a Portland, Oregon, mother of three—for not having as opulent a bank account or paying as much as Linton does in taxes, and also for being “adorably out of touch.”
Los Angeles Magazine editor Maer Roshan has remedied the problem of Linton-free public discourse with a glamorously illustrated cover story, rife with movie-star poses, in which the 38-year-old aspiring actress dishes on how uncomfortable she’s being made to feel by President Donald Trump’s hard-right social policies, and her terrible ordeal of being married to a high-ranking public servant in Washington, D.C.
“It sucks being hated,” she confides to Roshan during the three interviews she granted in her “massive Bel Air mansion,” the last two for which she sent her publicist packing. “Most people know me for the gloves or that awful Instagram post.... Look, I made some rookie mistakes.”
Of course, it wasn’t Linton’s fault.
“That whole Instagram thing happened because I got some bad advice. My advisers at the time were telling me to be glamorous and fashionable,” she explains. “I was looking at actresses I admired, and they all tagged their clothes. I should have realized that what’s good for movie stars doesn’t work for a cabinet secretary’s wife.”
After the storm of indignation over Linton’s snarky Instagram retort to Jenni Miller, the Oregon woman, “I tried to DM her a personal apology but she had already blocked me,” Linton laments.
Linton, an ardent animal-rights advocate, acknowledges the awkwardness when she is compelled to sit at a dinner table with, among other members of the Trump family, big game hunter Donald Trump Jr.
“Yes, I feel uncomfortable,” she says.
She’s no fan of the Trump administration’s increasingly antagonistic stand toward LGBTQ Americans either.
“Look, all of my besties are gay,” Linton says. “I did the Pride Run last year and again this year. 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. I very much respect my husband and the president of the United States, but I am an individual with my own beliefs and views. You should measure me by my actions, the friends I keep and the charities I support, not by the politics of my husband. It’s like walking a tightrope of dental floss in high heels and trying not to fall left or right.”
Understandably, perhaps, she’s even less enamored of her media coverage: “People don’t want to read about my work with the homeless or the time and money I pour into animal rescue and organizations that fight poaching. I’ve been very transparent with reporters, but they only want to print mean stuff. I befriended a homeless man five years ago, bought him a new set of teeth, helped him get his life on track. A writer for Elle spent two hours talking to this guy and discarded almost everything he said. When the story came out, we both were weeping while reading it on the street!”
Linton confides: “I went from regular girl, an actress trying to make it in Hollywood, to a cabinet spouse in one of the most polarizing administrations ever. I never got much guidance. You know that movie The Princess Diaries, where a mentor held her hand saying, ‘Walk this way. Talk this way. Do this; don’t do that’? Well, I didn’t have anyone like that. No one hands you a guidebook when you get off the plane in D.C. The only people waiting for you are the press.”
As for her reputation of being less than admired by her husband’s underlings at Treasury, Linton complains, “It’s crazy, the shit people say. Someone claimed that I walk into the Treasury and yell, “Where is my hubbyyy? Oh, he’s on an important phone call? Get him off!” Bullshit! I would never do that. You can’t just boopity-boop saunter into the Treasury. You need an appointment! There’s security at the gate!”
Linton elaborates: “The public has rigorous expectations of you the minute you become the spouse of a cabinet member. Don’t think that you can go to Washington and dress as an individual. If you want to avoid criticism, you need to be a twin-set-sweater-and-pearls type of girl.”
Meanwhile, the bloom of fame and vicarious power seems to be very much off the rose for Linton, Mnuchin’s third wife, when it comes to her second husband’s prominence in the world.
“In the beginning every time Steven was on TV I’d be like [gasps], I’d be videoing it. But now it’s like... Oh, there he is again,” she admits with a laugh. “I usually change the channel.”