On Friday, the seven Republican members of the Suffolk County Legislature delivered lunch to two shifts of workers at Long Island MacArthur Airport who labored through the federal government shutdown without pay.

If only some of their Republican colleagues in Washington could muster some semblance of that empathy.

The latest tone-deaf response to the struggles of 800,000 federal employees came from chronically clueless Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. Responding to reports of workers seeking help at food banks, Ross said, “I really don’t understand why.” They can get loans, he said, dismissing the interest they’d have to pay as “a little bit.” All in all, he blustered, “There really is not a good excuse why there really should be a liquidity crisis.” Spoken like a billionaire unaware that 20 percent of Americans in a Fox News poll this week said they’d have trouble paying bills after one missed paycheck, and that 54 percent said they’d have trouble after missing two. On Friday, federal workers will miss their second check.

After Ross’ comments, President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, referred to those still on the job as “volunteering” and said they did so because they believe in Trump. Earlier this week, presidential daughter-in-law and campaign adviser Lara Trump said workers were experiencing “a little bit of pain” but the shutdown “is so much bigger than any one person.”

Ross, who owns an estate in one of the toniest parts of Southampton, should’ve joined Suffolk’s lawmakers in taking lunch to MacArthur’s workers and listening to their stories, so he could’ve felt the pain he doesn’t acknowledge being inflicted on people he doesn’t understand.

Editorial by Newsday

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