"They can’t go to work, and so then they have the vacation."
President Donald Trump’s chief economic adviser is in hot water with Americans after trying to spin his boss's four-week shutdown, the longest in history, as a free "vacation" for federal workers.
Kevin Hassett says many federal workers were planning on taking vacation at the end of the year, but since Trump's shutdown began on December 22, they are "better off" than they would have been without the shutdown.
“A huge share of government workers were going to take vacation days, say, between Christmas and New Year’s," Hassett, smiling, told PBS Newshour economic correspondent Paul Solman, according to Politico.
"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," he says, as if "the vacation" is a gift. "And then they come back, and then they get their back pay. Then they’re — in some sense, they’re better off."
White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett on furloughed workers:
“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. Then they're—in some sense they're better off." pic.twitter.com/DWtLWE1RFz
— JM Rieger (@RiegerReport) January 11, 2019
Solman did not challenge Hassett on his positive spin, but he did laugh, as if to suggest the White House advisor was out of touch.
Many on social media agreed, unreservedly blasting Hassett, and in terms much harsher than usual.
800,000 federal workers did not receive a paycheck on Friday, and about half of them were required to work regardless.
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