“I can relate, and I’m sure that the people that are on the receiving end will make adjustments," President Donald Trump told a reporter on Sunday

By Adam Carlson
January 07, 2019 09:03 AM
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Amid a grinding shutdown of the federal government that has left hundreds of thousands of employees without pay for weeks, President Donald Trump said he “can relate” to their plight.

“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,” he told NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell after she asked, “Can you relate to the pain of federal workers who can’t pay their bills?”

“People understand exactly what’s going on,” Trump continued, contending, without evidence, that “many of those people that won’t be receiving a paycheck, many of those people agree 100 percent with what I’m doing.”

The government partially closed on Dec. 22, 17 days ago, over the billionaire businessman-turned-president’s call for funding for a proposed southern border wall.

The newly Democratic House of Representatives, empowered by decisive wins in the midterm elections, have dismissed his demand.

With negotiations fruitless so far, this shutdown could become the longest in American history, surpassing the previous record of 21 days in the ’90s, under President Bill Clinton and a Republican-led Congress, according to CNN.

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On Friday, Trump said the funding freeze could last for months — “even years.”

He tweeted Sunday about a “productive meeting” with Democratic lawmakers in Congress and said that he has shifted his position from a concrete wall to a “steel barrier.”

Democrats, however, said there had been no forward movement in resolving the shutdown, the New York Times reports.

The earliest affected employees would be paid would be around Jan. 25, according to CBS News.

“We had federal employees who were literally taking Christmas presents that were wrapped and ready to give, and taking them back to the store,” Randy Erwin, president of the National Federation of Federal Employees, told the network. “They were hunkering down for lean times.”