Donald Trump has proven that he’s more than willing to use his authority over the institutions of the United States for his own ends. Yesterday, Trump ordered this week that hospitals no longer turn in their COVID-19 data to CDC, who reports them and makes his coronavirus response look bad. Last week, Trump used his connections at the Department of Justice to get a friend with lots of sensitive information about the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia out of prison. Last month, Trump used the U.S. military to tear gas peaceful protesters so he could have a photo op in the park where they were gathered. It should come as no surprise that, given how Trump has made his feelings about mail-in voting well known, he’s willing to undermine the United States Postal Service to achieve his own political ends.
Discussing expansions in economic funding for the post office during negotiations over the stimulus package related to COVID-19, Trump said that funding the post office hurts Republicans. In an interview with Fox & Friends about the funding of mail-in vaoting during a global pandemic, Trump said “they things they had in there were crazy. They had things — levels of voting that, if you ever agreed to it, you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.” In other words, the more people have access to voting, the less likely the GOP is to win.
An alarming memo released and confirmed by The Washington Post as coming from Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a Trump appointee who also happens to have donated millions of dollars to the GOP, instructed carriers to adapt their practices due to severe budget cuts, including leaving post behind when other carriers are held up. This is a marked change from regular policy, in which mail carriers are instructed to never leave post behind.
The Washington Post reports that:
‘Critics say such a philosophical sea change would sacrifice operational efficiency and cede its competitive edge to UPS, FedEx and other private-sector rivals…“If the plants run late, they will keep the mail for the next day,” according to a document titled, “New PMG’s [Postmaster General’s] expectations and plan.” Traditionally, postal workers are trained not to leave letters behind and to make multiple delivery trips to ensure timely distribution of letters and parcels.’
Your reminder that this administration wants to kill the post office, because fuck you, that's why.https://t.co/KkGtkuLhHu
— John Scalzi (@scalzi) July 14, 2020
Trump’s problems with the U.S. Postal Service are not new, as he once proposed defunding it out of spite against the owner of The Washington Post, Jeff Bezos, because he doesn’t like the way the news outlet covers his administration. The idea of additional funding for the USPS during COVID-19 was to ensure that everyone who wants a mail-in ballot can receive one and can get them back on time to be counted. The funding has been fraught with controversy since the beginning of negotiations.
‘Congress authorized the USPS to borrow an additional $10 billion from the Treasury Department for emergency operations in an early coronavirusrelief bill. But postal leaders have yet to access the money over disagreements with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who attached terms on the loan that would turn over operations of much of the Postal Service to his department.’
More on Trump's efforts to destroy the Post Office. https://t.co/191WzcNDvq
— Thom Hartmann (@Thom_Hartmann) July 13, 2020
Louis DeJoy replaced Postmaster General Ron Stroman, who had served in the position for 42 years. Stroman was an avid proponent of mail-in voting and was said to be forced out by GOP attempts to discredit the service.
‘“Attacks on USPS not only threaten our economy and the jobs of 600,000 workers. With our states now reliant on mail voting to continue elections during the pandemic, the destabilizing of the post office is a direct attack on American democracy itself,” said Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-N.J.). “It has been 59 days since the House passed $25 billion to keep USPS alive. The Senate must pass it now. Democracy hangs in the balance.”’
With the resignation of Deputy Postmaster General Ron Stroman this week, the Postal Service Board of Governors lost its quorum as the battle for desperately needed reform continues. https://t.co/5ExzUsckgk
— Federal News Network (@FederalNewsNet) June 4, 2020
Featured image screenshot via YouTube