Before heading out to Camp David for a meeting with advisers on Sunday, President Donald Trump — who regularly boasts of his immense wealth and owns a home clad in gold — told reporters he can “relate” to furloughed federal workers who have now gone more than two weeks without paychecks.
On day 16 of the partial government shutdown, Trump also reiterated his belief that many of those federal employees agree with his decision to hold out for full border wall funding — the issue keeping paychecks at bay.
Asked if he could relate to "the pain of federal workers who can’t pay their bills" after they were furloughed, Trump said he could.
"And I’m sure that the people that are on the receiving end will make adjustments," he said. "They always do. And they’ll make adjustments. 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."
There are about 800,000 federal workers affected by the shutdown, including those who are furloughed and those working without pay — a number The New York Times noted is "more than double the number of people who work for Target", which Axios reported is more than 350,000 worldwide.
The impact of 800,000 people not getting paid will be felt increasingly across the country as time goes on, particularly as more than 80 percent of federal workers live and work outside the Washington, D.C. area, according to Axios.
Republicans on the Hill told Axios they believe Trump will likely back down on his demand for full border wall funding and cooperate with Congress as stories of struggling federal workers across the country — especially across Trump country — begin to dominate local news coverage.
Until then, the president is only digging in, saying the shutdown could last for months or even years.
But Trump is apparently hoping federal employees will be treated well by their creditors in the meantime:
Asked whether he'd urge creditors to go easy on federal employees, Trump replied: "I think they will. ... I've been a landlord for a long time. ... [T]he people are all good for the money — they work with people. ... I would encourage them to be nice and easy."