Speed Reads


Steven Mnuchin didn't think the cartoonishly villainous AP photo of him and his wife holding cash would go public

Last week, an Associated Press photographer captured a photo of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and his wife, Louise Linton, holding up a sheet of freshly printed $1 bills. The photos caused quite a splash. "Some folks," Chris Wallace told Mnuchin on Fox News Sunday, "say that you two look like two villains from a James Bond movie. ... I guess my question is: What were you thinking?" It's unclear what a real (fictional) Bond villain would say, but Mnuchin — who has produced several Hollywood hits — was apparently pleased with the comparison.

"I guess I should take that as a compliment that I look like a villain in a great, successful James Bond movie," Mnuchin said. "But let me just say, I was very excited of having my signature on the money." He actually changed his signature to be legible, he told Wallace. But when it came to the photo, taken by the most famous American wire service at a public event, "I didn't realize that the pictures were public and going on the internet and viral," Mnuchin said. "But people have the right to do that. People can express what they want. That's the great thing about social media today."

The AP photographer, Jacquelyn Martin, wasn't surprised that the photo went viral — but she was surprised Mnuchin and Linton posed for it. "When I got to the assignment, I didn't envision an image quite like this," she wrote. "Once I was there and Mnuchin gestured for Linton to come over and be in the photo op, then I knew for sure this image would get some interest. Based on their history and previous images that have been put out there — I had a feeling that this would take off. There is something about this couple that people are just fascinated by." Something, yes.