Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin lost it on Tuesday at the end of his testimony before the House Financial Services Committee after a tense exchange with Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA).
The heated exchange began after Waters, the chair of the committee, expressed her displeasure with Mnuchin’s intention to leave the hearing early before all members had used their allotted time.
“Mr. Secretary, I want you to know, that no other secretary has ever told us the day before that they were going to limit their time in the way that you’re doing,” she said. “So if you want to use them as examples, you have acted differently than they have acted. And as I have said, 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, I will cancel my meeting and I will not be back here. I will be very clear,” Mnuchin fired back. “If that’s the way you’d like to have this relationship.”
“Thank you!” said Waters. “The gentleman, the secretary has agreed to stay to hear all of the rest of the members. Please cancel your meeting and respect our time.”
“You’re instructing me to stay here?” Mnuchin said.
“No, you made me an offer! That I accepted,” she replied.
“I did not make you an offer,” said Mnuchin. “You’re instructing me! You’re ordering me to stay here!”
The argument continued, but Waters made clear that he was free to leave when he wanted.
“Then please dismiss everybody,” Mnuchin said. “I believe you’re supposed to take the gravel and bang it, that’s the appropriate —” (Mnuchin mispronounced “gavel.”)
“Please do not instruct me as to how I am to conduct this committee,” said Waters.
Take a look at the exchange in the video clip below:
“I believe you’re supposed to take the gravel and bang it.” -the Secretary of the Treasury pic.twitter.com/h057ZM3voN
— southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) April 9, 2019