President Donald Trump on Thursday admitted during an interview on Fox Business that he is blocking additional funding for the US Postal Service to sabotage mail-in voting.
“They want $25 billion — billion — for the post office. Now they need that money in order to have the post office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots,” Trump told host Maria Bartiromo on Thursday morning. “Now, in the meantime, they aren’t getting there. By the way, those are just two items. But if they don’t get those two items, that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting … because they’re not equipped.”
Trump’s blatant admission came after he said in a press conference on Wednesday evening that he would not sign off on either the $25 billion in emergency funds for the USPS or the $3.5 billion grant to help it process election-related mail that Democrats have advocated in a federal COVID-19 relief bill.
He said the same thing during the Fox Business interview on Thursday morning.
Throughout the pandemic, Trump has rejected giving emergency funds or grants to the cash-strapped USPS and has aggressively spread false claims that voting by mail is inherently fraudulent. In reality, rates of fraud are extremely low, and there’s no evidence that expanding voting by mail hurts or benefits either political party.
Trump has previously opposed measures to help the Postal Service. He said he would refuse to sign the Cares Act stimulus package in March if it included a bailout for the agency, The Washington Post reported on April 11.
“We told them very clearly that the president was not going to sign the bill if money for the Postal Service was in it,” an administration official told The Post.
This morning Trump openly admitted that he's sabotaging the USPS in order to prevent Americans from voting. This is NOT OK. Everyone in America needs to hear this video now! Please make sure it goes viral! pic.twitter.com/cRgvTPGNnd
— Mrs. Krassenstein (@HKrassenstein) August 13, 2020
The news outlet reported that while Congress initially intended to give the Postal Service a $13 billion grant, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin stepped in to quash the measure, telling lawmakers, “You can have a loan, or you can have nothing at all.”
Under Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a North Carolina shipping-and-logistics executive and a prolific Republican donor with no experience working at the Postal Service, the USPS has implemented cost-cutting measures including limiting overtime for postal carriers, cracking down on late trips to deliver mail, and freezing hiring. Critics have said the measures are slowing mail delivery in some areas and could prevent voters’ ballots for the November election from being delivered on time.
Before the pandemic, five states mailed all registered voters a ballot that could be returned by mail or put in a ballot drop box; Washington and Oregon have done so for decades.
Four more states — Nevada, Montana, California, and Vermont — and Washington, DC, have said they will mail all or most registered voters a ballot while also offering scaled-back in-person voting for the November election.
Ten more states are planning to send all or most active registered voters a ballot application in the mail, The Post reported.
Amber McReynolds, the former director of the Denver Elections Division and the CEO of the National Vote At Home Institute, told reporters that, when properly funded, the USPS is a remarkably effective tool for administering mail-in elections.
“They have the ability with their equipment and everything to run it at a level that must of us would never expect — it’s massive,” McReynolds said. When put into perspective, she said, the number of ballots the Postal Service processes is just a blip on the radar.
“The Postal Services estimates they process about 140 billion pieces of mail a year. And when we talk about 250 million mail ballots for, say, every American, that’s only about 0.2% of their normal volume,” she said.
If you plan to vote by mail this November, experts recommend requesting your ballot as soon as possible and returning it in the mail at least a week in advance, or delivering it to your local elections office or a ballot drop box if it’s an option in your state.