U.S.

Donald Trump Says Federal Workers Awaiting Paychecks Are 'Great Patriots': 'We Will Win Big'

President Donald Trump has lauded the federal employees furloughed or working without pay due to the partial government shutdown, describing those not getting paid as “great patriots.”

Around 800,000 federal workers have gone without pay since the shutdown began on December 22. Now the longest in U.S history, the government closure looks set to drag on further, with Trump struggling to reach a funding deal with the Democratic Party.

Read More: GoFundMe Launches Government Shutdown Direct Relief Fund For Federal Employees

Though the president has tried to blame the Democrats for the partial shutdown, polls have indicated that most Americans hold Trump and the Republicans responsible for the ongoing crisis—caused by a dispute over funding for the president’s proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. The president has claimed, without evidence, that most Americans are behind his plan for the wall.

A Sunday night tweet from Trump addressed the hundreds of thousands of citizens who have gone unpaid, thanking the “great patriots” for “working so hard for your Country.”

“We must now work together, after decades of abuse, to finally fix the Humanitarian, Criminal & Drug Crisis at our Border. WE WILL WIN BIG!” the president wrote.

There appears to be no clear solution to the shutdown, now in its 30th day. This weekend, Democrats dismissed Trump’s newest plan, which offered three years of protection for Dreamers—undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children—in exchange for the $5.7 billion in wall funding.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi branded the deal “unacceptable” and said it was a “nonstarter” that would not get the required support in Congress, USA Today explained.

But as lawmakers argue in Washington, the shutdown is hitting federal employees in their wallets. Hundreds of thousands are now facing the prospect of a second month with no salary, as officials try to maintain vital government services.

Transportation Security Administration employees, for example, have been working without pay since the shutdown began. But as the pay freeze drags on, staffing levels have suffered. A TSA statement released Sunday noted that “many employees are reporting that they are not able to report to work due to financial limitations.” On Saturday, 8 percent of staff were absent from work, compared with 3 percent at the same time last year.

At the end of last week, crowdfunding platform GoFundMe launched a dedicated “Government Shutdown Direct Relief Fund” to support those going without salaries. As of Monday, it had raised over $95,000 in donations from more than 1,200 people.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been criticized for his perceived inaction during the shutdown. The Kentucky senator has largely tried to stay out of the melee and support Trump, but he has blocked Senate votes on three plans approved by the House Democrats that would have partially reopened government.

McConnell previously suggested he would not allow a vote on any proposal that does not have the president’s backing. Over the weekend, the senator said he would allow a vote on Trump’s new plan, even though it will require a handful of Democratic votes to pass.

This article has been updated to include information about GoFundMe’s relief campaign.

Donald Trump government shutdown President Donald Trump makes remarks as he hosts a naturalization ceremony in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., on January 19. Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images

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