Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, one of the richest people in US President Donald Trump’s Cabinet, is questioning why furloughed federal workers are reluctant to take out loans to get through the government shutdown.
Mr Ross was asked on CNBC about why some of the 800,000 workers currently not receiving income are going to homeless shelters to get food.
Mr Ross, whose financial disclosure forms reveal $US700 million ($A980 million) in assets, said he “didn’t quite understand” why workers would be presenting at food banks and homeless shelters.
He advocated that workers borrow from a bank or credit union, telling TV show Squawk Box “there is really not a good excuse why there should be a liquidity crisis. True, people will have to pay a little interest.”
About 800,000 federal workers will experience their second pay period tomorrow without a pay cheque as the partial government shutdown goes into Day 34.
Mr Ross also said he didn’t understand why unpaid air traffic controllers were calling in sick “in pretty large numbers”.
“They are eventually going to be paid,” he said.
The comments were the latest in a series of out-of-touch remarks about the shutdown from Trump officials.
Mr Trump said earlier that workers need to “make adjustments.”
Mr Ross’ comments sparked a huge furore on social media by people responding to his tone deaf remarks.