Federal workers whose paychecks stopped coming due to the partial government shutdown are fine with not getting paid, according to President Donald Trump.
After meeting with Congressional leaders on Friday, Trump confirmed to reporters that he is willing to drag the shutdown on for months, or even a year, if he doesn’t get full funding for his border wall.
Trump repeatedly said he was not concerned about federal workers who are at risk of missing paychecks if the shutdown continues into late next week. More than 345,000 employees are currently furloughed, while an additional 500,000 are working but will not be paid until government reopens. Affected federal employees were paid last week for the work they did before the shutdown started. They will not receive their next scheduled checks, however, which would otherwise occur on or around Jan. 11.
“The people that won’t get next week’s pay, or the following weeks pay, if you ever really looked at those people they’d say, ‘Mr. President please keep going,’” Trump said, suggesting “most” impacted workers supported the shutdown as a means to get wall funding.
Though Trump has suggested there is strong support for his border wall demands, a recent GovExec/Government Business Council poll found that just 22 percent of federal employees back the president on keeping the government closed — and among those who support the wall effort itself, 35 percent do not support the shutdown.
Oddly, Trump has also claimed that the majority of federal workers currently furloughed or working without pay are Democrats — which would appear to be at odds with the notion that most support his efforts.
The president has offered no evidence to support either claim.
Regardless, Trump believes the private sector will take care of those federal workers struggling to pay their rents and bills.
Trump suggested most impacted feds could avoid financial hardships, noting that employees could negotiate with their landlords to temporarily reduce their rents.
“I’ve been a landlord for a long time,” Trump said. “I’ve been in the real estate business for a long time. When you see their problems out there, their difficulties out there, you know, the people are all good for the money. They work with people.”
Asked how federal employees would get by for months or a year without pay, he again stated the ends justify the means.
“The safety net is going to be having a strong border,” Trump said.