Pelosi says Wilbur Ross' confusion about why federal workers are going to food banks during the shutdown shows a 'let them eat cake kind of attitude'

Jim Watson/AFP/Getty ImagesHouse Speaker Nancy Pelosi hit back at Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’ comments about federal workers relying on food banks during the shutdown.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi responded to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’ comment that he doesn’t understand why federal workers are going to food banks during the shutdown.
  • “He doesn’t understand why they have to do that. I don’t know is this the ‘let them eat cake’ kind of attitude? Or call you father for money?” Pelosi said at a press conference.
  • Some 800,000 federal workers are going without pay during the shutdown and on Friday many will miss their second paycheck since the shutdown started.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reacted on Thursday to comments made by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross after the Trump administration official expressed confusion over reports that unpaid federal workers are resorting to food banks during the government shutdown.

Ross was asked about reports of the financial strain for the 800,000 unpaid federal workers during an appearance Thursday on CNBC. The Commerce Secretary, who has a net worth of $US860 million, according to Bloomberg, suggested that the workers should take out loans to bridge the gap.

“I know they are and I don’t understand why because as I mentioned before, the obligations that they would undertake – say borrowing from a bank or a credit union – are in effect federally guaranteed,” Ross said.

Read more: Wilbur Ross, Trump’s millionaire commerce secretary, says he doesn’t understand why federal workers are going to food banks during government shutdown┬╗

Pelosi countered during a press conference, suggesting that the the comment shows that the commerce secretary is out of touch with the financial struggles of the federal workers.

“He doesn’t understand why they have to do that. I don’t know is this the ‘let them eat cake’ kind of attitude? Or call you father for money?” Pelosi said. “‘This is character building for you. It’s all going to end up very well for you as long as you don’t get your paychecks.’ I don’t quite understand why.”

Many federal workers, like most Americans, live paycheck to paycheck, and the financial strain is building. The unpaid employees will miss their second paycheck on Friday, and the workers going without pay owe more than $US400 million in mortgage and rent payments this month.

But given the state of shutdown talks, these workers are most likely going to need to make it a little longer despite the fact that the closure is already in its record-breaking 34th day.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.