In one of his more head-scratching statements yet, President Donald Trump claimed he “can relate” to federal workers going without their paychecks as a result of the government shutdown.
“I can relate,” the president told a reporter who asked him whether he can “relate to the pain of federal workers who can’t pay their bills.” He added: “And I’m sure that the people that are toward the receiving end will make adjustments, they always do. And they’ll make adjustments. People understand exactly what’s going on. Many of those people that won’t be receiving a paycheck, many of those people agree 100 percent with what I’m doing.”
My question to the president, “Can you relate to the pain of federal workers who can’t pay their bills?” Pres. Trump:”I can relate…”. Watch: pic.twitter.com/WJCBHZQ15x
— Kelly O'Donnell (@KellyO) January 6, 2019
The president’s statements prompted MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough to weigh in––with considerable incredulity.
Donald Trump has no idea what these people are going through. None… They are not getting their paychecks,” Scarborough told co-host Mika Brzezinski. “And by the way, I do know what they’re going through because my father was unemployed for about a year and a half, and every two weeks was painful, every month was painful. I mean, you didn’t know how you were going to get by, how you were going to be able to pay the mortgage, how you were able to fill up the gas tank, how you were able to put food on the table, how you were going to be able to take care of three, young, growing kids.”
Donald Trump says they’re going to get through? Mica, I wonder what working-class Americans in Pennsylvania, what working-class Americans in Alabama, in Wisconsin, in Minnesota, in all these places where Donald Trump claimed he was one of them and where they thought he was one of them, I wonder what they’re thinking today? I wonder what farmers in Illinois, farmers in Illinois, farmers across America are thinking today about a man who says, ‘No worries! No paycheck? No worries! You’ll take care of it.
No, unfortunately for families like my family back in the early 1970s, sometimes it’s extraordinarily hard to make do. Sometimes you can’t just ‘take care of it,’ especially if it’s the President of the United States who is taking that paycheck out of your wallet for no good reason.
Others expressed similar sentiments, noting that the president––a man who once said people need identification to buy groceries––is out-of-touch.
Trump says he can relate to federal workers who aren’t getting paid. This coming from a trust fund baby who thinks he needs a license to buy groceries. The most out of touch, greedy, corrupt, ignorant & illegitimate president in US history—a pathetic pathologically lying traitor.
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) January 6, 2019
It took someone I know, 1 hour 20 minutes to get thru TSA at MIA this morning. If u think a partial shutdown won't cause chaos & pain not only to some federal workers, but also to regular Americans & the economy, you're wrong. And if you think Trump can relate, you're dead wrong.
— Ana Navarro-Cárdenas (@ananavarro) January 7, 2019
@realDonaldTrump is completely disconnected with the pain and struggles of the American people. He will never relate to our federal workers or residents that depend on an open functional government. @McConnellPress needs to lead & pass the bills we sent him to open our gov't. https://t.co/j7kYuBeq0f
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) January 7, 2019
Over 800K federal workers aren’t being paid and have had their scheduled wage increase frozen. Many of them are preparing to ration food at home and are asking creditors for leniency whilst they pay other bills.
But not to worry, Predator @realDonaldTrump says he can “relate.”
— Ricky Davila (@TheRickyDavila) January 7, 2019
There’s a difference between can’t pay bills ( Federal workers laid off) and won’t pay bills (trump family) https://t.co/je4UNH5aV8
— Howard Dean (@GovHowardDean) January 6, 2019
The shutdown is the fourth longest in U.S. history, and there is no end in sight, despite assurances from Democrats that they will pass funding bills as soon as they take office. The inauguration of the 116th Congress last week marks the first time ever that a federal shutdown will extend into two different Congresses.
The president’s response to the shutdown has been widely criticized. He’s claimed since the shutdown, which kicked off last month after he declined to sign a stopgap funding bill because he disagreed with the decision of Congress not to provide the funding he’d requested for his proposed border wall, is a ploy orchestrated by Democrats.