U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross mentioned on Thursday that he doesn’t perceive why some federal staff who’ve been furloughed or are working with out pay through the ongoing partial authorities shutdown are having to show to meals banks and homeless shelters to feed themselves and their households.

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“I do know they’re, and I don’t actually fairly perceive why,” Ross mentioned in an interview on CNBC.

Ross, whose web price in 2016 was estimated to be $2.9 billion, mentioned these staff ought to search loans as a result of “the banks and the credit score unions must be making credit score accessible to them.”

“True, the folks might need to pay a little bit little bit of curiosity,” Ross added. “However the concept that it’s paycheck or zero will not be a very legitimate thought.”

The commerce secretary additionally downplayed the variety of federal workers affected by the shutdown, now in its 34th day.

“Put it in perspective, you’re speaking about 800,000 staff,” he mentioned. “And whereas I really feel sorry for the people which have hardship circumstances, 800,000 staff in the event that they by no means acquired their pay — which isn’t the case, they may finally get it — but when they by no means acquired it, you’re speaking a couple of third of a p.c on our GDP. So, it’s not prefer it’s a huge quantity total.”

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Ross mentioned it was “disappointing” that a number of the affected federal workers ordered again to work by President Trump are refusing to take action.

A furloughed TSA worker at a meals financial institution in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Tuesday. (Picture: Timothy Clary/AFP/Getty)

“There actually will not be a superb excuse why there actually must be a liquidity disaster,” he mentioned.

The feedback drew immediate scorn online, with critics saying they present an administration out of contact with its personal workforce.

At her weekly press convention, Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi mentioned she doesn’t perceive why Ross doesn’t perceive the hardship of staff who’re lacking their paychecks.

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“Is that this the ‘Allow them to eat cake’ sort of perspective or ‘name your father for cash’ or ‘that is character-building for you, it’s all going to finish up very effectively’?” she mentioned.

“These billionaires which might be in all of those Cupboard positions don’t know how many individuals reside paycheck to paycheck,” Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., mentioned on CNN.

Trump himself has claimed repeatedly that the majority federal staff assist his tactic of shutting down the federal government to implement his demand for a border wall — together with these straight affected by it. However a current ballot of presidency workers exhibits that few truly do.

In accordance with a Authorities Enterprise Council survey launched final week, 71 p.c of federal staff oppose the shutdown, in comparison with simply 21 p.c who assist it. And simply 34 p.c of federal workers surveyed assist Trump’s demand for funding for the wall, whereas 56 p.c oppose it.

Ross wasn’t the one Trump Cupboard member to appear tone deaf in his evaluation of the shutdown on staff.

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Chatting with reporters on the White Home, Trump financial adviser Larry Kudlow repeatedly referred to the federal government shutdown as a “glitch.”

Kudlow additionally mentioned that workers working with out pay through the deadlock had been “volunteering.”

When pressed by a reporter who disputed the characterization, Kudlow accused him of enjoying a “semantic sport.”

“Give them credit score,” Kudlow mentioned of the staff. “They honor us. They usually do it due to their love for the nation and the workplace of the presidency and, presumably, their allegiance to President Trump.”

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