Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has of late been frequently forced to defend his use — or requested use — of government aircraft.
During a Politico event on Thursday, Mnuchin offered an explanation for his use of a military aircraft to fly to Fort Knox in Kentucky the day of the solar eclipse. The military base was close to the eclipse's path of totality.
Mnuchin said he was in Kentucky for an event on tax overhaul. The Treasury secretary also said the claim that he traveled solely for the historic phenomenon was absurd — because as a "New Yorker," he was not interested in the eclipse at all.
"You know, people in Kentucky took this stuff very serious. Being a New Yorker ... I was like, the eclipse? Really? I don't have any interest in watching the eclipse," Mnuchin told Politico's Ben White.
Steven Mnuchin, President-elect Trump's nominee for Treasury secretary, testifies during his Senate Finance Committee confirmation hearing in Dirksen Building, January 19, 2017.
(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Treasury Secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin sits with Vanessa Trump (R), wife of Donald Trump Jr, before a swearing-in ceremony for senior staff at the White House in Washington, DC January 22, 2017.
Incoming Trump administration Treasury Secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin departs after working a simulated crisis scenario during transition meetings at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 13, 2017.
Producer Steve Bing (L) and Honoree Steven Mnuchin recipient of the Philanthropic Leadership Award attend The Kaleidoscope Ball - Designing The Future benefitting the UCLA Children's Discovery and Innovation Institute at Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA at Beverly Hills Hotel on April 17, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California.
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Steven Mnuchin, Treasury secretary nominee for U.S. President Donald Trump, right, attends a swearing in ceremony of White House senior staff in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017. Trump today mocked protesters who gathered for large demonstrations across the U.S. and the world on Saturday to signal discontent with his leadership, but later offered a more conciliatory tone, saying he recognized such marches as a hallmark of our democracy.
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Steve Mnuchin and Lousie Linton arrive at the Premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures' 'Jupiter Ascending' at TCL Chinese Theatre on February 2, 2015 in Hollywood, California.
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Heather Mnuchin and Steve Mnuchin attend The Art Show Gala to Benefit The Henry Street Settlement at The Seventh Regiment Armory on February 23, 2005 in New York City.
(Photo by Joe Schildhorn/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
Treasury Secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin attends the inaugural parade of U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington, January 20, 2017. Donald Trump was sworn in earlier as the 45th President of the United States.
Donald Trumps' Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin arrives on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. In today's inauguration ceremony Donald J. Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States.
(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
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It wasn't the only travel-related issue for which Mnuchin has had to answer. He also faced questions about his request to use an Air Force jet for his European honeymoon earlier this summer.
Mnuchin said he was "very sensitive to the use of government funds" and made the request to ensure secure communication with the rest of the government.
"I've never asked the government to pay for my personal travel," Mnuchin said. "This had nothing to do with convenience. This was purely about national security."
Mnuchin also drew particular criticism because he is independently wealthy, with a net worth of about $300 million. The aircraft he requested for the honeymoon costs about $25,000 an hour to operate.