About 1,000 furloughed federal workers have turned to online fundraising to help cover their expenses as a partial shutdown of the U.S. government drags on for nearly three weeks, a spokeswoman for GoFundMe.com said on Wednesday.
Some 800,000 federal employees have been ordered to stay home or work without pay because of the standoff between U.S. President Donald Trump and Congress over Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion to build a wall on the southern U.S. border – a promise he made in his 2016 campaign that he said at the time would be paid for by Mexico.
The online fundraising pleas have raised over $100,000 in the last three weeks, according to GoFundMe spokeswoman Katherine Cichy.
Alphonzo Breland, an Internal Revenue Service employee in Oakley, California, told Reuters he has been losing sleep and trying to get a night job at a warehouse to cover his family’s expenses.
On Tuesday, he started a GoFundMe page with a goal of raising more than $2,500.
“My heart is always fluttering, my head is racing,” Breland, 41, said in a phone interview. “My mortgage is due now, I have until the 15th and then I get a late fee. I had to cancel the tuition deduction for my daughter’s school.”
Cichy said the company has a special team dedicated to reviewing all campaigns related to the government shutdown for potential fraud.
Most of the pages, created by people who say they are furloughed federal employees or their families, aimed to raise a few thousand dollars to cover expenses of military personnel and employees of shuttered agencies including the IRS and Transportation Security Agency.
“I was struggling financially even before the shutdown occurred, essentially living paycheck to paycheck, so having it happen at Christmastime was the worst possible scenario,” James Gass, who described himself as a single father of a 15-year-old who works for the Department of Agriculture in Massachusetts, wrote on his GoFundMe page.
Robert and Tristan, 14 and 12, wrote that they started a GoFundMe to help their mother, a federal employee in Seattle.
“My mom can’t get a second job because we are her second job,” they wrote.
Reporting by Gabriella Borter; Editing by Scott Malone and Phil Berlowitz
‘The wheels are coming off’: MSNBC panel says Trump told his chief of staff to ‘walk the plank’
Two MSNBC anchors discussed Thursday's whirlwind day of breaking news in scandals involving President Donald Trump.
The host of "The Rachel Maddow Show" joined Brian Williams on "The 11th Hour" to discuss Trump holding the G7 Summit at his Trump National Doral Miami golf course and the White House acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, confessing that there was a quid pro quo with Ukraine -- before attempting to walk back his confession.
"Did things change today, do you think?" Williams asked.
"I do feel like the wheels are coming off," Maddow said.
"For the Energy Secretary [Rick Perry] to resign, you've had two cabinet secretaries resign during the impeachment proceedings already, one of whom, the current one resigning tonight, the Energy Secretary, does appear to be involved in the scheme, at least on a couple of different levels. We have got the White House Chief of Staff who was sent out today, not only to make the, 'Yes, it was quid pro quo. Yes, we did it. What are you going to make of it?' article -- which was bracing, but then to take it back, simultaneously announcing this self-dealing, which is something more blatant than we’ve ever seen from any president in U.S. history," she explained.
Rick Wilson rips Trump for holding G7 meeting at his ‘South Florida House of Bed Bugs Hotel’
Republican strategist Rick Willson blasted President Donald Trump after the administration announced that the G7 meeting of world leaders would be held at his Trump National Doral Miami golf course.
Chief of staff and Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney announced the severely under-performing resort would receive the lucrative contract during a contentious White House briefing.
Trump impersonated a CNN anchor — and a US president — during epic meltdown at Texas speech
President Donald Trump offered multiple impersonations during a campaign rally in Dallas, Texas on Thursday.
Trump showed the crowd his impersonation of a president of the United States -- and a CNN anchor.
"No guns. No religion. No oil. No natural gas," Trump said. "Abraham Lincoln could not win Texas under those circumstances. Couldn’t do it."
In fact, Abraham Lincoln could not win Texas when he ran for president as the state refused to print any ballots with his name.
He then showed the audience two impersonations as part of his 87-minute speech.
"I used it to say, I can be more presidential. Look," Trump said, as he shuffled awkwardly on stage.