How Scots ac­tress be­came most hated woman in the US

Sunday Herald - - NEWS - BY RON MCKAY

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.

Pho­to­graph: Saul Loeb/AP

Ed­in­burgh­born Louise Lin­ton with her hus­band Steve Mnuchin, the US trea­sury sec­re­tary

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.