National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow said federal employees who are currently working without pay during the government shutdown are doing so out of "allegiance to President [Donald] Trump."
Kudlow spoke with the White House press corps Thursday and addressed the shutdown that is about to hit five weeks in length.
After Kudlow said employees are "volunteering" to work because they are loyal to Trump, a reporter pushed back and said being forced to work without receiving a paycheck is hardly volunteering.
"I'm not going to even go there. You know what I'm saying. It's very clear," Kudlow said. "With respect to people who do have financial hardships, they are coming to work and giving them the same 24/7 work they always did.
"And I will say to you whatever semantic game you think you're going to play with me, and I'm usually an easy going guy, give them credit. They honor us by their service. I don't care whether you're a Republican or Democrat. I mean that sincerely. They honor us."
Kudlow then argued federal workers serve in their roles because they are proud Americans and respect the office of the president.
"They honor us and they do it because of their love for their country and the office of the presidency and presumably their allegiance to President Trump," Kudlow said. "They're doing it. Give them some credit. There are a lot of wonderful people in this country."
The shutdown began in December over a squabble regarding border security. Lawmakers are now trying to create bipartisan legislation that would reopen the government and also provide money for the border.
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