President Donald Trump’s continuing government shutdown has destroyed the president’s claims to support working Americans.
Writing in The New York Times, Michelle Goldberg recounted the cringe-worthy statements of indifference by Trump administration officials as the closure continues in its thirty-fourth day.
“Trump himself has been unable to feign empathy for the 800,000 federal employees who haven’t been paid in more than a month, or the hundreds of thousands of government contractors who likely won’t be paid at all,” Goldberg noted. “On Thursday afternoon, Trump told reporters that grocery stores will ‘work along with people who can’t pay for food.”
The damage to Trump’s brand could have major political implications.
“One effect of this government shutdown, now in its second month and without immediate end in sight, is to reveal the sham of Trump’s purported populism,” Goldberg explained. “It’s true, he’s able to connect culturally with some economically precarious parts of America. Despite being expensively educated, his worldview is basically that of Archie Bunker. He eats fast food, likes pro wrestling and has the terrible taste in interior design common to arriviste dictators.”
“Yet in purely financial terms, Trump is as elitist as they come. Though he campaigned as a candidate of (white) workers, he has governed as a shameless oligarch,” she charged. “He has proudly surrounded himself with millionaires and billionaires, seeing their wealth as evidence of their worth.”
The shutdown will likely continue because of the type of people in the administration.
“Ordinarily, one might expect a presidential administration’s leading economic figures to understand something of these financial realities. But if they cared about people who aren’t rich, they wouldn’t be working for Trump in the first place,” Goldberg argued. “The shocking thing isn’t their indifference to the misery they’re causing. It’s that they can barely be bothered to hide it.”