In response to President Donald Trump's evidence-free claim that "many" government employees are supporting the ongoing government shutdown because they "want the wall," the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE)—a union that represents thousands of scientists, administrative workers, and others—declared in a statement on Wednesday that it has "not heard from a single member who supports the president's inaction."
"If the president wants to gamble, perhaps he should go back to running casinos. Gambling with the lives of federal workers is not acceptable."
—Paul Shearon, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers
"Most view this as an act of ineptitude," said IFPTE president Paul Shearon, who noted that members of the union are among the hundreds of thousands of federal workers who have been furloughed or are working without pay due to the shutdown.
"Donald Trump is the head of the administrative branch of government. As the nation's top administrator he should be deeply concerned about the morale of his employees," Shearon continued. "Instead, he is literally tweeting the words 'poor me' while holding dedicated professionals hostage, creating unnecessary stress and financial hardships for their families, undermining their work product, and treating them as a chip on a giant poker table."
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"If the president wants to gamble," concluded Shearon, "perhaps he should go back to running casinos. Gambling with the lives of federal workers is not acceptable."
The union's statement came as federal employees took to social media to reject Trump's claim that workers are backing his pursuit of $5 billion in funds for his racist border wall and share how the shutdown has affected them and their families.
"This is a very stressful time, and believe me, my husband does not want that wall," wrote a Twitter user who said her husband was furloughed because of the shutdown, which continued into its fifth day on Wednesday.
Government shutdowns are particularly harmful for low-paid federal workers and contractors, many of whom are already living paycheck to paycheck and struggling to afford basic necessities due to inadequate wages.