On the face of it, having a photo taken of yourself being presented with a newly minted sheet of American currency bearing your name and signature is a perfectly reasonable thing to do.
I mean, why wouldn’t you…?
Well, just maybe you wouldn’t if you were a Republican Treasury Secretary, and your party is right at this moment trying to rush through a tax bill analysts criticise as being disproportionately beneficial to wealthy individuals.
But no. Demonstrating the same social media savvy as his wife a scant month ago (ie. none) when she flaunted her designer labels on a taxpayer funded flight, Steven Mnuchin was quite happily snapped taking personal delivery of some freshly printed lucre.
And that’s what makes this is a bona fide Brand Blunder, for Mnuchin and the Republican Party. Any press assistant fresh out of university could have, should have and quite possibly did warn Mnuchin about the unfortunate optics of this photo at a sensitive time.
But Mnuchin pressed ahead, providing an instant meme, and drawing widespread mockery across social media.
For the record, the photo was taken by Jacquelyn Martin of the Associated Press during a tour of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington. Throwing a little more fuel on this bonfire of the vanities, Associated Press noted that Mnuchin’s signature on the new bills is more legible than that of his predecessor, Jack Lew.