He may or may not truly be a billionaire, but it’s common knowledge that Donald Trump was born with a silver spoon in his mouth.
A massive New York Times expose last October found that by the time he was three, Trump was earning about $200,000 per year from his father’s real estate empire. He was a millionaire by age eight.
So the president raised more than a few eyebrows Sunday, when in answer to a reporter’s question, he said he can “relate” to federal workers struggling to make ends meet as a partial government shutdown drags into a third week.
“Can you relate to the pain of federal workers who can’t pay their bills?” shouted one reporter, as a scrum of journalists gathered outside the White House and peppered Trump with questions.
The president was quick to respond. “I can relate, and I’m sure that the people who are on the receiving end will make adjustments. They always do. They’ll make adjustments,” he said as he prepared to depart for Camp David ahead of a strategy session on the shutdown with aides.
The president continued: “People understand exactly what’s going on. But 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 government has been partially shut down since late December, sparked by President Trump’s demand for $5 billion in funding for a wall on the southern border, which he has repeatedly promised Mexico will pay for.
Operations for national parks, homeland security, tax collection, transportation, and law enforcement have been affected and each day, new federal services are placed on hold. Most of the government, including the military, is funded through September, but the longer the shutdown lasts, the more services go off-line.
Democratic party leaders say passing a bill to reopen the government — one without funding the wall — is their top priority now that they have a retaken control of the House. Until the impasse is over and the government reopens, hundreds of thousands of federal workers will go without pay.
Some of those affected really do know what it means to go without.
Many people who rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to feed their families could be looking at a cut in benefits if the shutdown continues into next month.
As NBC outlined, SNAP costs an average of around $4.8 billion per month, but the program has only $3 billion in emergency reserves for February. More than 19 million families rely on the program. Small businesses that accept SNAP will also take a major hit should the funding for the program run out.
In Prince George County Maryland, one school board member is calling for free lunch for all students in the county while the government is shut down, since many families in the area work for the government and are currently going without pay.
“As the child of former federal government employees who lived through many shutdowns, I know the strains placed on families and their budgets,” the board member, K. Alexander Wallace, said.
“The last thing our students need to worry about is how they will pay for breakfast and lunch.”