The line was a reference to comments made earlier Thursday by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and others in President Donald Trump's White House who have seemed to be somewhat unsympathetic to the plight of Federal workers who are now going without paychecks.
Speaking with reporters later Thursday, Trump said that Ross "perhaps ... should have said it differently", but that he understood the point Ross was making: That the approximately 800,000 federal workers who are not being paid in the shutdown should be able to rely on their close local ties with community businesses to essentially work out other ways to still be able to get food and pay their bills.
"Not just how many soybeans and how much [liquid natural gas], but even more importantly, structural reforms that we really think are needed in the Chinese economy ... enforcement mechanisms and penalties for failure to adhere to whatever we agree to", said Ross.
"Is this the "Let them eat cake, ' kind of attitude, or 'Call your father for money?' or, 'This is character building for you?'" House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked at a news conference".
But the magazine said that after "one month of digging", it is confident that the more than $2 billion never existed.
"It's too complicated a topic, too many issues, it's not a realistic expectation", he said. They have Wilbur Ross saying he doesn't understand why oh, when he was asked about people going to food lines and pantries and the rest, he says, he doesn't understand why they have to do that.
Kevin Hassett, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, said early in the shutdown that some furloughed employees were, "in some sense, they're better off" because people who were already taking vacation over the holidays ultimately would not be charged for their already-planned trip.
"And then they come back, and they get their back pay", he said.
It all contributed to perceptions that the Trump administration was out of touch with workers bearing the brunt of the shutdown impact. "Now, true, the people might have to pay a little bit of interest".
"I fret about the hardship. OK?"
Ross also minimized the broader economic fallout from the shutdown. If they never got their pay - which is not the case, they will eventually get it, but if they never got it, you're talking about a third of a percent on our GDP.
Trump said his message for federal employees working without pay was "I love them".
Mr Ross also downplayed the number of people affected by the prolonged shutdown, saying it is "not like it's a big number overall".