Dante Biss-Grayson Halleck, a veteran and federal employee who acknowledged feeling the strain caused by the ongoing partial government shutdown, on Wednesday said President Trump’s speech about the border was like “a slap in the face.”
After watching Tuesday night’s address by Trump, he said he felt motivated. Motivated to hit the send button on new job applications.
“There was no solution in there and there was no reason to why these employees are being impacted by the wall,” Halleck said of the Tuesday night speech by Trump, according to CNN. “We’re like pawns in this whole game.”
Halleck, a veteran, works as a safety officer for a federal hospital serving tribal nations in New Mexico, according to the network.
He told CNN that his family has enough emergency funds to last three months.
“There are very few people who can live without a paycheck for months,” Halleck said. “If the shutdown lasts and people begin to quit, at-risk patients could suffer the ultimate consequence.”
He said Trump’s speech, as well as the follow-up by Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), were like a “slap in the face to everybody that’s doing a good service for this country.”
“There was no ‘thank you’ to the federal employees who are going to be living on rice and beans by Friday,” Halleck said.
Trump, during a televised speech on Tuesday night, reiterated his demand for $5.7 billion in border wall funding, calling the situation at the border a “crisis.”
Schumer and Pelosi accused Trump of trying to “stoke fear” with his Oval Office address.
“Most presidents have used Oval Office addresses for noble purposes. This president just used the backdrop of the Oval Office to manufacture a crisis, stoke fear and divert attention from the turmoil in his administration,” Schumer said.
The shutdown has left 800,000 federal employees furloughed or working without pay. The impasse reached the 19-day mark on Wednesday.