White House chief of staff Mark Meadows defended one of his team’s latest nonsense conspiracy theories during an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union this Sunday morning. Specifically, he went to bat on behalf of the idea that mail-in voting is full of opportunities for fraud, although there’s no evidence of some kind of systematic threat to election legitimacy via the practice. In fact, mail-in voting is already used at a high rate across the country — in the most recent two federal elections, “roughly one out of every four Americans cast a mail ballot,” the Brennan Center reported earlier this year.
When @jaketapper tells Mark Meadows there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud, Mark Meadows said, “There’s no evidence that there’s not either.”
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) August 16, 2020
Trump just seems to see a villainous conspiracy theory anywhere that there’s something remotely threatening to his public image — including the chance that Americans might vote him out of office this November. When confronted with the facts, Meadows had nothing. Host Jake Tapper noted that there’s no evidence of widespread fraud in mail-in voting, and Meadows claimed in response that “there’s no evidence that there’s not.” Well actually, there is, in the form of the records for the millions of mail-in ballots that are processed without a hitch on a regular basis. Meadows can’t vaguely claim that there might be evidence out there somewhere for his team’s nonsense claims and truly expect to be taken seriously. At this point, at least this particular top Trump ally seems to be resorting to brazen nonsense, à la Kellyanne Conway and her alternative facts.
CNN’s Manu Raju reported on Sunday morning that Meadows also “indicates there won’t be mail processing machines removed between now and Election Day” and “suggests WH could be open to a stand-alone bill to fund the USPS.”
Meadows also indicates there won’t be mail processing machines removed between now and Election Day. And he suggests WH could be open to a stand-alone bill to fund the USPS
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) August 16, 2020
The handling of the Post Office has been a key sticking point lately on Capitol Hill — the Trump-allied Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy, has been implementing policy changes that have had the effect of slowing down the mail. These policy changes have included the cancellation of overtime opportunities for huge swathes of the workforce and the already partly implemented plans to remove hundreds of mail sorting machines from around the country, the latter of which Meadows seems to suggest might be stopped, for now — although he simultaneously seemed to be glossing over the fact that some machines have already been removed. If some of these policy changes are allowed to stand, then mail-in voting could be threatened.