How Scots actress became most hated woman in the US
IT took just a few keystrokes from her immaculately manicured fingers for Louise Linton to become the USA’s most-hated woman. Before she stepped down from a US government plane in Kentucky, dripping in designer clothes, the Edinburgh-born, public school-educated, bit-part actress was known as the latest and much younger wife of Trump’s billionaire treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin.
Minutes after her thousand-dollar Valentino Rockstud heels hit the tarmac she posted on Instagram advertising the brands she was swathed in. However, her litany of designer name-dropping provoked ire across the USA. One social media response from mother-of-three Jennie Miller, who said she was “glad we could pay for your little getaway”, provoked Linton to respond that she and her husband had given more to the US economy “either as an individual OR in self-sacrifice” than Miller. The spat trended on social media, critics piled in and designer Valentino wasn’t chuffed either. Within hours Linton had apologised and in an official statement the US government said Mnuchin had paid for his wife’s travel. It didn’t mention the clothes.
Linton, 36, was born and brought up in Edinburgh and boarded at private schools St George’s and Fettes College, Tony Blair’s alma mater. Her parents own Melville Castle, outside the city.
She was born as Louise Hay (Linton is a stage name), and claims to be inspired by her mother who “dedicated her life to helping those less fortunate than her”. Following her mother’s example, as an 18-year-old Louise set out for Zambia to aid the less fortunate, including a “smiling, gap-toothed child with HIV”, according to her ghost-written memoir, In Congo’s Shadow. But there wasn’t just benevolence and philanthropy in Africa, there was conflict and derring-do as she became “a central character in this horror story” – the Congolese civil war.
Linton claimed she had to spend a night hiding from Hutu militia in a “dense jungle canopy” wondering what the bloodthirsty rebels would do to “the skinny white muzungu with long angel hair”. Fortunately, our heroine escaped their wrath ... although her account of it was fatally skewered. When it was pointed out that there is no jungle in Zambia, only savannah, and that there was no Hutu-Tutsi conflict in the country, along with other discrepancies, Linton withdrew the book from sale.
As an actress, Linton appeared in episodes of CSI and Cold Case. She later decided that the future in Hollywood lay in producing films and set up her own company. At this point Steve Mnuchin walks onto set. He’s a former banker at Goldman Sachs, a hedge fund manager (his then company credited with foreclosing on thousands of mortgages) and investor in Trump Tower and, in his latest but one guise, principal in Dune pictures, which produced films such as American Sniper.
The two married in a flamboyant ceremony in June, with 300 guests, including Trump. The couple’s trip to Kentucky last Monday was, according to the official story, so that Mnuchin, could speak at an official engagement. Critics say it was planned simply to get the best vantage of the solar eclipse.
They then went to Fort Knox, 40 miles away, the first time in over 70 years a treasury secretary has visited the mint. A caption from an official Facebook page, since deleted, confirmed the plan was to watch the eclipse from the roof, atop $180 billion of gold bullion.
Edinburghborn Louise Linton with her husband Steve Mnuchin, the US treasury secretary