Trump Admits To Blocking USPS Funding Over Mail-In Voting, Biden Slams Move As ‘Pure Trump’

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TOPLINE

The Trump administration continued its attacks on the U.S. Postal Service and voting rights Thursday, as President Donald Trump admitted he is denying USPS funding to block mail-in voting while White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow called voting rights “not our game”-prompting an outcry from Democrats alleging Trump is “sabotaging” the election through his continued politicization of the postal service.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a briefing at the White House August 12, 2020 in … [+]

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KEY FACTS

Trump, a longtime USPS critic who has falsely claimed mail-in voting will lead to voter fraud despite a lack of evidence, said Thursday that he’s holding up a stimulus deal over Democratic demands for funding to USPS and for mail-in voting, saying Democrats “need that money in order to make the post office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots.”

A lack of funding for USPS and mail-in voting, Trump said, “means you can’t have universal mail-in voting because they’re not equipped to have it.”

Kudlow described voting rights as part of a “liberal left wish list” to CNBC in a discussion about the stimulus package, saying such priorities were keeping the White House from reaching a stimulus deal because issues like voting rights are “not our game.”

Democrats immediately seized on Trump’s comments as evidence he’s ” sabotaging” the election, with Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-N.J.) tweeting, “Trump again brags he’s destroying the post office to sabotage voting and rig the election.”

Joe Biden said the move was “pure Trump” and shows he “doesn’t want an election,” after spokesperson Andrew Bates said in a statement that Trump is “sabotaging a basic service that hundreds of millions of people rely upon…because he wants to deprive Americans of their fundamental right to vote safely during the most catastrophic public health crisis in over 100 years.”

“This is voter suppression, plain and simple,” Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold tweeted.

Democratic lawmakers have criticized and initiated investigations into recent changes made at the USPS by new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy-a Trump donor and ally-and their potential effect on the election, with hundreds of lawmakers sending letters to DeJoy Wednesday criticizing recent changes to how election mail is classified, which could result in ballots not being delivered on time.

Big Number

75%: The approximate percentage of Americans who will be eligible to vote by mail in November, according to a New York Times analysis, which could result in an estimated 80 million mail ballots. Recent polling shows that voting by mail remains popular with a slim majority of Americans-but with a sharp partisan divide, with Democrats approving of the practice at much higher rates than Republicans.

Key Background

The U.S. Postal Service has become an ongoing source of controversy in the wake of DeJoy’s appointment. The new postmaster general imposed recent cost-cutting measures targeting overtime and transportation costs, which have resulted in reports of widespread mail delays, removal of mail sorting equipment and possible post office closures. DeJoy also ordered a restructuring of the agency’s organizational structure Friday in a move that critics decried as a “Friday Night Massacre.” The changes have come under particular scrutiny due to their potential effect on the election, with former deputy postmaster general Ronald Stroman telling the Thursday that “making these changes this close to an election is a high-risk proposition.” “The concern is not only that you’re doing this in a pandemic, but a couple of months before an election with enormous consequences,” Stroman said. “If you can’t right the ship, if you can’t correct these fast enough, the consequence is not just, OK, people don’t get their mail, it’s that you disenfranchise people.” DeJoy has defended his changes to the agency and denied slowing down the mail or being influenced by Trump, and has said that USPS has “ample capacity” to handle a mail-based election.

Further Reading

Stimulus Checks Held Up Because Democrats Want Universal Mail-In Voting, Trump Says-But That’s Not The Whole Story (Forbes)

House Democrat Introduces Bill To Stop U.S. Postal Service Changes (Forbes)

Postmaster General Accuses Congress Of ‘Sensationalizing’ Mail Delays As Bipartisan Outcry Grows (Forbes)

Most Americans Don’t Think The Election Will Be Conducted Fairly, Poll Finds (Forbes)

I am a New York-based journalist covering breaking news at Forbes. I previously covered politics and news for Vanity Fair and Mic, and as a theater critic I serve as a