During an interview with Fox News anchor Chris Wallace on Sunday, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin addressed the viral photos that featured him and his wife, Louise Linton, holding sheets of money.
The couple was at the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing to check out freshly printed dollar bills with Mnuchin's signature on them, and an AP photographer was on hand to snap some pictures.
"Like Bond villains..." one person said. Critics mock Steve Mnuchin and his wife, Louise Linton, for posing with a… https://t.co/xmTuazHUdk— CBS News (@CBS News) 1510850145.0
The images spread quickly across social media, with many saying that Mnuchin and his wife looked "like Bond villains" in the photos.
Towards the end of their interview, Wallace felt the need to address the uproar, asking, "What were you thinking?"
Trump's grifting Treas Sec Hollywood producer Mnuchin & flamboyantly hedonistic wife Louise Linton posed w a sheet… https://t.co/E6B0vhVIGJ— ☇RiotWomenn☇ (@☇RiotWomenn☇) 1511117711.0
"I never thought I'd be quoted as looking like villains from the James Bond," Mnuchin awkward replied with a smile. "I guess I should take that as a compliment that I look like a villain in a great, successful James Bond movie."
"But let me just say, I was very excited of having my signature on the money," he added. "It's obviously a great privilege and a great honor and something I'm very proud of, being the secretary, and look forward to helping the American people."
But Wallace wanted to know what prompted Mnuchin and his wife to "have fun with the money and take those pictures."
"Well, again, I didn't realize the pictures were public and going on the internet and viral," he admitted. "But people have the right to do that. People can express what they want."
"That's the great thing about social media today," he added. "People can say and communicate what they want."
Watch the interaction starting at the 8:53 mark:
The AP photographer who took the photos, Jacquelyn Martin, recalled being asked to take them, and "knew for sure this image would get some interest" and "had a feeling that this would take off."
She also doesn't know how Mnuchin and his wife didn't realize the photos would be public. "I think it was pretty obvious it was a media photo op," she told CNN's Brian Stetler later on Sunday.
"It was pretty obvious it was a media photo op" says Jacquelyn Martin, the photographer behind the Mnuchin 'money s… https://t.co/irn5DGPmRF— CNN (@CNN) 1511111193.0
Lesson learned for Mnuchin. But hey, it brought the world some much-needed entertainment:
@CNN I want someone to look at me the way Mnuchin's wife looks at him holding a large sheet of money. https://t.co/Kcc67vAg2c— Jessica (Unstable Genius) Helen 🤓🇺🇸 (@Jessica (Unstable Genius) Helen 🤓🇺🇸) 1511142103.0
Everyone's focused on Steve Mnuchin & the sheet of money but no one's talking about how his wife has been murdering… https://t.co/J4iHjewQKN— Johnny McNulty, god dammit. (@Johnny McNulty, god dammit.) 1510776960.0
@riotwomennn @FoxNewsSunday Bond villains? More like Scooby-Doo villains. #gop #dnc #POTUS #fox— Paen Tor Dood (@Paen Tor Dood) 1511129142.0
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