Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Fast Forward

Mnuchin Defends Using Government Plane To Watch Solar Eclipse

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Sunday he does not regret using a government plane to travel to Kentucky in August with his wife to view the solar eclipse and speak to business leaders, calling it “completely justifiable.”

Mnuchin’s use of the plane at taxpayers’ expense prompted an outcry from Democratic lawmakers and interest groups and spurred a government watchdog to begin examining whether it violated travel or ethics policies.

“It was approved by the White House and there were reasons why we needed to use that plane that are completely justifiable,” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Cabinet members rarely use government planes or chartered aircraft for domestic travel, but the practice has received significant attention in the wake of Mnuchin’s trip. On Friday, former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price resigned after an outcry over his use of private charter planes for government business at a cost of nearly $52,000.

Mnuchin told NBC that he would only use a private plane for government purposes “if either there was a national security issue or we couldn’t get somewhere.”

The Treasury Department has described Mnuchin’s trip in August as official government travel. Mnuchin spoke to business leaders in Louisville and visited Fort Knox, the site of significant U.S. gold reserves.

Mnuchin and his wife, Louise Linton, also viewed the Aug. 21 solar eclipse in Kentucky with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and others.

Engage

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.