Kevin Hassett, the White House’s chief economic adviser, has suggested that nearly 800,000 federal workers who aren’t getting paid during the current partial government shutdown are “better off” because they’re on extended vacation.
“A huge share of government workers were going to take vacation days, say, between Christmas and New Year’s,” Hassett said during a “PBS Newshour” interview. “And then we have a shutdown, and so they can’t go to work, and so then they have the vacation, but they don’t have to use their vacation days. And then they come back, and then they get their back pay.”
It led Hassett to make this pronouncement:
“Then they’re, in some sense, they’re better off.”
— PBS NewsHour (@NewsHour) January 10, 2019
This comment led to some scathing social media responses:
They are on an extended vacation, no big deal. Not like their landlords need to pay the mortgage or anything. I'm sure the bank will understand, no problem at all.
— Daniel jackson (@TheDanMovement) January 14, 2019
I can't believe this man said this without shame.
— Alma de Paredes (@mamacat18) January 11, 2019
It is just a big joke to them since they don’t have to stress over how they are going to make ends meet… the interviewer can’t help to laught incredulously… min 4:20-5:20
— Miguel Castellanos (@MiguelC13779491) January 12, 2019
@JonathanQLe there are times when you think “this administration can’t get any worse.”, yet everyday for over two years, it doubles down. 🤯
— Lindsie ✭ (@LCapiStrand) January 12, 2019
Wow. This man has ZERO empathy. Way to sugarcoat ruining people's lives. This man works FOR US. Why is he getting paid? I love the casual 'yeah we're hurting American companies for a bigger reason'. I think Kevin Hassett needs a slap, and a permanent vacation, unpaid.
— Kristan Locklear (@KristanLocklea1) January 12, 2019
Later in the show, Hassett speculated that the shutdown will have no major, long-term consequences even though he said the shutdown has cost the economy at least $20 billion.
After passing the previous record on Friday, the partial shutdown is now the longest in U.S. history. President Donald Trump has refused to reopen the government unless the Congress provides him $5.7 billion for a wall along the southern border. This is a sticking point the Democrats have refused to budge on.
Hassett’s comments came as hundreds of thousands of federal workers have already missed their first check.