Marie Antoinette traveled over two centuries into the future to express solidarity with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross at a House hearing Thursday.
"Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and several other members of Trump World had #LetThemEatCake moments during the government shutdown," said progressive advocacy group American Family Voices in a tweet, referencing the famous quote attributed to the 18th century French queen. "We decided they should meet their inspiration in person."
Among the "let them eat cake" moments noted by the group was when Ross expressed confusion as to why some federal workers were forced to rely on food banks and homeless shelters for basic necessities during the recent partial government shutdown.
"I felt I must meet this man who clearly draws so much inspiration from me," Antoinette said in a spoof interview.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and several other members of Trump World had #LetThemEatCake moments during the government shutdown. We decided they should meet their inspiration in person... Follow us and stay tuned. pic.twitter.com/yzi3yRn5uf— American Family Voices (@AFVhq) March 12, 2019
Marie Antoinette is in the hearing room, waiting to hear from Secretary Ross about why he lied to Congress about the addition of the citizenship question on the census. #letthemeatcake #savethecensus pic.twitter.com/cSs9OrziyI— Vanita Gupta (@vanitaguptaCR) March 14, 2019
House Oversight Committee members questioned the Commerce secretary on the basis of his attempt to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census—a change two federal courts rejected.
The grilling was part of the committee's marking of "Sunshine Week," which chairman Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) called "critical now more than ever, as the Trump administration continues to obstruct our investigations in an unprecedented way by withholding documents and key witnesses."
"I'm sure it was a real comfort to Wilbur Ross to have Marie Antoinette in the audience today," Sarah Anderson, who heads the Global Economy Project at the Institute for Policy Studies and is a co-editor of the think tank's web site Inequality.org, told Common Dreams.
"For those at the pinnacle of a society's wealth and power, it can be disconcerting to face tough questions," said Anderson. "The former French queen was no doubt an empathetic presence in the room."