Why Nancy Pelosi’s Clap-Back at Wilbur Ross’ Shutdown Comments Is So, So Satisfying
In her weekly press conference on Thursday, January 24, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi called out Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross for making statements about furloughed government workers that were broadly deemed to be demeaning and out of touch.
In an interview earlier on Thursday with CNBC reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin, Ross, who is one of the richest members of President Trump’s cabinet, asked why government workers were using food banks amid the longest government shutdown in US history, which has left some 800,000 federal government employees without a paycheck for over a month.
Ross further said there “really is not a good excuse” for furloughed government workers to resist working without pay, referring to reports of TSA workers calling in sick, en masse. In so many words, he suggested these workers take out a bank loan or use lines of credit while they wait out the shutdown, after which they’ll receive back pay.
“I don’t know if it’s a ‘let them eat cake’ kind of attitude, or ‘call your father for money,'” Pelosi said, using the infamous saying attributed to Marie Antoinette, which further fomented the class resentments that would ignite the French Revolution.
Pelosi went on to say she wondered whether Ross saw the furloughed workers’ missed paychecks as a “character building” moment that will “end well.”
Pelosi’s comments perfectly encapsulate what’s wrong with Ross’ understanding of poverty. Her choice of “let them eat cake” is especially evocative given its link to the doomed French queen who, as legend goes, said the phrase once she was informed that the general public couldn’t afford to buy bread while she lived a lavish life at Versailles.
The connection is particularly apt as Ross’ worth is estimated at around $700 million dollars, putting him woefully out of touch with the financial realities of regular Americans.
Later in the interview, Sorkin explained to Ross that some federal workers have lost their homes and wound up in homeless shelters, to which the multimillionaire tycoon replied, “I don’t really understand why.”
In a later interview with Bloomberg, Ross attempted to clarify his earlier statements about furloughed workers. “All I was trying to do is make sure that they’re aware that there are possible other things that could help somewhat mitigate their problems,” he said.
(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Fall is right around the corner, and we're getting amped up for our next session of Selfmade, Brit + Co's 10-week interactive startup school. Designed to help you create a new business or grow your existing one, this course is personally led by Brit + Co founder Brit Morin and co-founder Anjelika Temple, and supported by more than a dozen of the top female entrepreneurs, creatives, and investors in the country. Students receive personalized coaching on everything from how to get out of your comfort zone to how to scale your business, and everything in between. And now, thanks to Office Depot, even more of you can join the course!
For the fall session, we're thrilled to team up with Office Depot to grant 200 FREE scholarship seats to the course. Scholarships are open to US residents, focusing on women of color, women from underserved and underrepresented communities, and women in need of support to help them trail-blaze. After all, we firmly believe that your support system is a huge part of how you achieve greatness, and we are here to cheer all of you on.
To nominate yourself or someone you know for a scholarship, head to our nomination form right here. The deadline for scholarship nominations is September 27th — it's time to take the leap!
Beyond the scholarship, Office Depot is all about helping you accomplish more. Whether it be the start phase, growth phase or keep businesses going phase, Office Depot offers a full suite of business solutions, including services and products, to help you work from anywhere, organize and save time and help build your brand.
So what are you waiting for? Take a chance on yourself and get yourself one step closer to truly being selfmade. Learn more about the Selfmade program, apply for a scholarship and prepare to be inspired :)