April 10, 2019

Oh dear, someone is feeling a little testy, and forgetting that he has a constitutional responsibility to report to congressional oversight committees.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, to be more than generously fair, was at his second congressional committee meeting for the day and had testified in front of them for approximately three hours when he started getting whiny.

It's perhaps because he had run out of ways to avoid the question of whether he would release Donald Trump's tax returns, although he should be fully aware that the law on that is very clear and he has no choice. Or maybe it's because he was tired of answering for his own ethics failures, or relationships with Russian oligarchs. Whatever it was, Mnuchin has learned that being bullying usually works to get one out of difficult situations.

So Mnuchin became insolent and pissy, complaining that no Republican majority had ever forced him to testify for so long (no duh, dude, they care about as much about the rule of law as you do). He even had prepared a card that had the length of time other Treasury Secretaries had testified. Of course, other Treasury Secretaries weren't concerned about releasing tax returns or having the Office of Ethics decline to certify their financial statement.

But Maxine Waters, chair of the Ways and Means Committee to which he was testifying, did not have any patience for these games. “This is a new way, and it’s a new day,” she said. “And its a new chair, and I have the gavel. At this point, if you wish to leave you may.”

Mnuchin then started to complain that he had a very important meeting with a foreign entity (reportedly, a Bahrainian official on national security--why he would be doing that instead of the Secretary of State was not given) and whined about being forced to stay.

Waters let him know that they all at times were late for meetings, such was the nature of working in Washington and then continued, "No other secretary has ever told us the day before that they were going to limit their time."

And that's when the disrespect from Mnuchin redlined, as he stammered and complained, "You want me to cancel my meeting and stay here."

Waters, not missing a beat, accepted his offer, which caused Mnuchin to stammer and get red-faced, threatening not to return voluntarily again (fine, you want to be subpoenaed and treated as a hostile witness?). Waters reminded him that he was free to leave at any time, which apparently he was unwilling to do unless she adjourned the meeting, so Mnuchin told her that she needed to bang that "gravel" (sic) to end the meeting.

And ever so icily, Waters responded, "Please do not instruct me as to how I am to conduct this committee."

Suffice to say, I doubt very much you would see this level of disrespect of a long time member of Congress if they were a white male.

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