Trump claims to 'relate' to unpaid workers as he holds 800,000 federal employees hostage for border wall

Trump claims to 'relate' to unpaid workers as he holds 800,000 federal employees hostage for border wall
Image via screengrab

Speaking to reporters at the White House in Sunday, President Trump claimed that he can "relate" to federal workers who are working without pay during the current government shutdown. 


He added that those same workers agree with the shutdown, even though they are not being paid as a result of it. 

"I can relate, and I’m sure that the people that are on the receiving end will make adjustments, 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," said the president, in response to NBC reporter Kelly O'Donnell.

His comments echo similar claims he made on Friday, claiming that those affected directly by the shutdown support the move for a wall along the southern border with Mexico.

"Many of those people, maybe most of those people, that really have not been -- and will not be getting their money in at this moment -- those people, in many cases, are the biggest fan of what we’re doing," said trump on Friday.

The President has also claimed broad support overall for his border wall, even as support for the project has slipped. 

"I have never had so much support as I have in the last week over my stance for border security ... or, frankly, the wall or the barrier. I have never had anything like it in terms of calls coming in, in terms of people writing in and tweeting. I’ve never had this much support," said the president in a surprise briefing on Thursday. 

The White House switchboard and the call-in phone line to the White House are not operating due to the government shutdown, so it is unclear what calls he is referring to, of if any such calls actually occurred. 

The Quinnipiac poll shows that out of 1,147 likely voters, 54% oppose the wall. This is close to the same result as a Harvard CAPS/Harris online survey that found that out of 1,407 registered voters, 56% opposed a border wall.

The president has hinted at a shutdown that could last "months or even years."

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