Trump says he loves and respects federal workers as many miss another paycheck
President Donald Trump said he has nothing but “love” and “respect” for furloughed federal workers on Thursday, as hundreds of thousands of government employees prepared to miss another paycheck on Friday due to the ongoing partial government shutdown.
Despite growing frustrations among unpaid workers, many of whom have to turn to crowdfunding, the gig economy and food banks in order to support themselves and their families during the shutdown, Trump claimed that “many of those people that are not getting paid are totally in favor of what we’re doing.”
The U.S. leader made the comments after being asked by a reporter what message he had for the roughly 800,000 federal employees who will be without a paycheck on Friday, the 35th day of the record-breaking shutdown.
“I love them, I respect them, I really appreciate a great job they’re doing,” Trump said, before adding: “Many of those people that are not getting paid are totally in favor of what we’re doing because they know the future of this country is dependent on having a strong border, especially a strong southern border.”
This week, the U.S. Senate rejected two bills seeking to end the government shutdown, leaving no end in sight to the federal closures.
Trump triggered the shutdown on December 22 after he refused to sign a stopgap measure to keep the government running because it did not include the $5.7 billion in funding he has demanded for the construction of his long-promised border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
While Trump has said many furloughed federal workers and Americans support his border wall, a new poll from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs suggests a decline in support for the U.S. leader’s plans for the southern border.
Asked in a poll by The Chicago Council on Global Affairs whether they favor or oppose plans to expand the existing 700 miles of border wall and fencing with Mexico to reduce illegal immigration to the U.S., the majority of Americans (55 percent) said they were opposed to the idea. Meanwhile, four in ten (41 percent) were in favor of the plan.
The poll, which included 1,019 participants and was conducted between January 11 and 13, also found that support for an expanded border wall between the U.S. and Mexico has declined since the summer of 2016, when it was pushed as one of Trump’s key campaign pledges.
That summer, the Chicago Council Survey found that Americans were divided on the wall, with 48 percent in favor and 50 percent opposed, meaning support for the wall has declined by seven points. For the mostpart, that decline has been driven by Democrats, who have seen a 16-point decline in support for the wall.
President Donald Trump speaks in the Cabinet Room of the White House on January 24, 2019. The U.S. leader has said he loves and respects federal workers who have been furloughed or are working unpaid during the partial government shutdown. MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty