Treasury Secretary and former Goldman Sachs banker Steve Mnuchin tried to suppress video footage of his appearance at UCLA last month, and now that the video has finally been made public, it is abundantly clear why.
This idea that a federal official can control access to the records that the public is entitled to under California law is troubling.
—David Snyder, First Amendment Coalition
Invited to discuss the GOP tax bill he helped craft and the White House’s broader economic agenda, Mnuchin was repeatedly interrupted by students and other event attendees, who deployed a mixture of protest tactics to express displeasure at the Trump administration’s policies—tactics that ranged from coughing and hissing loudly to yelling out that the treasury chief is “full of shit.”
You have to watch to get a complete sense of Mnuchin’s growing agitation and confusion in the face of dissent against the Trump administration’s corporate agenda.
In addition to the official UCLA video of the event, clips recorded by audience members have also gone viral since. Like this one featuring a sixth grader who asked Mnuchin how it is just to give the rich a massive tax cut in the midst of soaring economic inequality.
As Common Dreams reported earlier this month, Mnuchin withdrew his permission for the university to publish the full video and audio of the event. UCLA bowed to Mnuchin’s demand, only releasing partial audio and an abridged transcript of the appearance—a move one free speech advocate said was unlawful.
“This idea that a federal official can control access to the records that the public is entitled to under California law is troubling,” David Snyder, executive director of the First Amendment Coalition, told Buzzfeed.
Last Friday, UCLA finally released the full video of the event, but only after receiving “consent” from the Treasury Department.
According to Snyder, this “suggests that they still don’t get it that it doesn’t matter that Steve Mnuchin consented or not. They have an obligation to produce the records.”