'Marie Antoinette' activist attends House hearing to protest Trump Commerce chief

'Marie Antoinette' activist attends House hearing to protest Trump Commerce chief
© Getty Images

An activist dressed as Marie Antoinette on Thursday attended a House committee hearing with Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis Ross2020 census to run ads on 'Premio lo Nuestro' Can the US slap tariffs on auto imports? Not anymore On The Money: Slowing economy complicates 2020 message for Trump | Tech confronts growing impact of coronavirus | Manufacturing rises after five-month contraction MORE as part of an effort to protest the Trump administration's past actions. 

"The @SecretaryRoss hearing just started. We got in! #LetThemEatCake," the progressive group American Family Voices said in a tweet featuring a woman dressed as the queen.



The phrase "Let them eat cake" is attributed to Antoinette, who served as queen of France during the French Revolution in the late 18th century, who supposedly said it after being told that people were starving in her country, though today the story is considered apocryphal.

American Family Voices equated the line with Trump administration officials' comments during the 35-day partial government shutdown in a video posted earlier this week. 


The video includes Ross expressing confusion when told that some federal workers were relying on food banks amid the government shutdown, which was triggered when President TrumpDonald John TrumpWhere do we go from here? Conservation can show the way Gov. Ron DeSantis more popular in Florida than Trump Sotomayor accuses Supreme Court of bias in favor of Trump administration MORE refused to sign a congressional spending bill. 

"I know they are and I don’t really quite understand why," Ross, who's reportedly worth about $700 million, said of federal workers.

The video also highlights remarks made by economic advisors Kevin Hassett and Larry Kudlow. Kudlow sparked outrage in January after he said that federal employees were "volunteering" to work without pay amid the shutdown. 

The video transitions to clips of a woman dressed as Antoinette strolling through the Capitol building and drinking out of a wine glass. 

"Let them eat cake as they say, or as I say," the woman says. "Cheers to you, Wilbur Ross."

Ross was testifying before the House Oversight and Reform Committee about his decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. Lawmakers are expected to press Ross about the decision, which has been tossed out by several courts.