Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin’s got into a tense exchange with Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters during a committee hearing Tuesday.
The two went back and forth during Mnuchin’s House Appropriations Committee and Financial Services Committee testimony on April 9. During it, Mnuchin was noticeably upset at the financial services chair about being kept at the three-and-half-hour testimony for so long.
Mnuchin had a meeting with a senior official from the Bahrain government scheduled for 5:30 p.m. and was eager to get back to his office in time to conduct it.
“It will be embarrassing if I keep this person waiting for a long period of time,” Mnuchin says. “I have assured you I’m happy to come back here and answer more of your questions … I’m already going to be late on my 5:30 meeting.”
He further got upset about the duration of the hearing and “negotiating when I will come back.”
“This is a new way and it’s a new day. And it’s a new chair. And I have the gavel at this point,” Waters said when Mnuchin remarked on the time. “If you wish to leave you may.”
“If you’d wish to keep me here so that I don’t have my important meeting and continue to grill me, then we can do that,” Mnuchin later says. “I will cancel my meeting and I will not be back here. I will be very clear if that’s the way you’d like to have this relationship.”
Waters urged him to cancel the meeting “and respect our time.” Later, Mnuchin charged, “what I told you is I thought it was respectful for me to leave at 5:15.”
“You can go anytime you want,” Waters says amid cross-talk after the two continue to discuss whether or not Waters formally allowed Mnuchin to leave.
“Please dismiss everybody I believe you’re supposed to take the gravel [sic] and bang it,” he says.
“Please do not instruct me as to how I am to conduct this committee, Waters retorts.
The moment quickly took off online, and many have criticized Mnuchin as they lauded Waters.
“Mnuchin is such a pathetic f—kwit……and greetings from Australia,nice work Maxine Walters…..😉👍”
“No joke! She puts him in his place. He is squirming and can’t shake it. #heisajoke #onlythebest.”
“Love her. She told him he could leave no less than 6 times. Very clearly He clearly offered to stay albeit disgruntled. He sat there being argumentative, disrespectful and dictating to her how to conduct business from her chair. Disgusting behavior.”
“Why is this arrogant tool part of our government? I’m still horrified that he called it a gravel! And he’s in charge of the US Treasury? Good grief.”