As of this writing, the partial government shutdown has lasted 33 days, putting the lives of not only 800,000 furloughed employees in jeopardy, but also anyone flying in airplanes, wanting to not eat poisoned food or hoping we can stop any potential terrorist attack. Who to turn to for comfort? Probably not the guy who caused it. President Donald J. Trump has stubbornly stuck by his guns, using the language of kidnappers to get money for his border wall no matter what. He also doesn’t appear to know how grocery stores work.
As per New York, the 45th president was speaking to reporters — his only line to the American people now that Nancy Pelosi has shut down his State of the Union address, apart from his Twitter feed and constant media presence, of course — about controversial comments made by Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, an 81-year-old billionaire who may have committed some finance crimes because what’s a Trump employee who may not possibly be going to jail?
Ross told CNBC he didn’t understand why furloughed workers are using food banks to survive, because, he said, “the obligations that they would undertake, say, borrowing from a bank or a credit union, are in effect federally guaranteed.” The loudest Arrested Development narrator voice possible here: They aren’t.
As it turns out, his boss, the president, thinks Ross misspoke, though Trump admitted he hadn’t heard Ross’ statement. Whatever it was, he wasn’t wrong; he was simply using the wrong words. And our president, as he’s informed us before, has the best words. So this golden-tongued orator tried to re-phrase Ross’ comments. How’d he do?
Trump didn’t contest the bubbled statement that he hadn’t heard. “Local people know who they are, when they go for groceries and everything else,” Trump said. “I know banks are working along. If you have mortgages, the mortgagees, the folks collecting the interest and all of those things, they work along. And that’s what happens in time like this. They know the people, they’ve been dealing with them for years, and they work along.”
Yes, the president doesn’t only believe that the 800,000 employees struggling to pay rent or get insulin so they don’t die are happy that they’re being used as pawns. He also thinks most of America is an idyllic small town that’s effectively an autonomous collective — a socialist paradise where everyone supports everyone else, and people swap yarn so they can get phosphates at the local soda jerk. Perhaps this is what one believes when one’s been a millionaire since childhood.