House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) speaks during a House Financial Services Committee Hearing on Capitol Hill on April 9, 2019, in Washington, DC. U.S. Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin is testifying on the state of the international financial system.
Photo: Zach Gibson (Getty Images)

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin apparently failed to learn anything the last time he went up against Auntie Maxine, aka U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.)

A reminder:


Yeah, that was nearly two years ago (it seems like only yesterday!) when Mnuchin went before the House Financial Service Committee and tried to vamp his way through Auntie Maxine’s questions about President Donald Trump’s financial ties to Russian banks. That confrontation gave us that beautiful moment, which led to glorious memes like this:

Anyhoo, fast forward to Tuesday, and now, Waters is the chairwoman of the House Financial Service Committee. The H.N.I.C. During a committee hearing, one of the many questions Mnuchin faced was when would he respond to Democrats’ request to see President Trump’s tax returns, according to Vox. As the hearing stretched into three hours, Waters asked if Mnuchin could forgo a press gaggle and give the committee 15 more minutes. That’s when Mnuchin went into whiny white man mode and explained that he had a foreign leader waiting in his office, but ultimately he would stay if that’s what she wanted. But he also threatened that he wouldn’t come back before the committee.


“If you’d wish to keep me here so 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,” Mnuchin said. “I will be very clear, if that’s the way you’d like to have this relationship.”


So Waters took him up on offer, much to his surprise.

“Thank you. The secretary has agreed to stay to hear all the rest of the members,” she said. “Please cancel your meeting and respect our time.”


A stunned Mnuchin then tried to take back off the offer by pretending he didn’t make the offer.

“You’re instructing me to stay here and I should cancel …,” an exasperated Mnuchin replied.


“No, you made me an offer,” Waters replied.

“No, I didn’t make you an offer,” said Mnuchin, despite video evidence to the contrary.


“You made me an offer. I accepted,” said Waters.

“I did not make you an offer; let’s be clear. You’re instructing me, you’re ordering me to stay here,” said Mnuchin, growing even more exasperated.


After some more back and forth, Waters told the treasury secretary he was free to leave anytime he wanted to. That’s when Mnuchin made the mistake of slipping into white-mansplaining mode.

“Please dismiss everybody. I believe you’re supposed to take the gavel and bang it,” he said.


“Please do not instruct me as to how I am to conduct this committee,” Waters clapped back.


One day, Mnuchin gon’ learn not to mess with Auntie Maxine. But alas, Tuesday was not that day.

Genetta M. Adams is Managing Editor of The Root.

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