By Emily Cochrane and Aug. 13, 2020
Democrats are alarmed that the president is seeking to undercut the election and sow confusion about the outcome.
The appointment as postmaster general in May of Louis DeJoy, a Trump campaign contributor with significant financial interests in the Postal Service’s competitors and contractors, has prompted further concerns about the politicization of the agency, particularly after Mr. DeJoy put in place policy changes that have slowed mail delivery in some areas.
Mr. DeJoy has kept tens of millions of dollars invested in XPO Logistics, a Postal Service contractor for which he was a board member, first reported by CNN on Wednesday. However, he sold his stake in United Parcel Service, a major rival for the post office, in June, according to financial disclosures.
Shortly after he divested between $100,000 and $250,000 in Amazon stock the same month, he bought $50,000 to $100,000 in stock options for the company. Amazon, a frequent subject of Mr. Trump’s attacks, is a major competitor to the Postal Service in package delivery.
Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., called it a cynical attempt at disenfranchisement.
“The president of the United States is sabotaging a basic service that hundreds of millions of people rely upon, cutting a critical lifeline for rural economies and for delivery of medicines, because he wants to deprive Americans of their fundamental right to vote safely during the most catastrophic public health crisis in over 100 years,” said Andrew Bates, a spokesman for the Biden campaign.
Voting activists said that Mr. Trump’s remarks simply made clear what they already suspected: that the president was attacking the post office to undermine the election. Tammy Patrick, an expert on mail-in voting and senior adviser at the Democracy Fund, a nonpartisan grant-making foundation, maintained that funding was not intended to implement a “universal vote by mail,” as the president put it, but rather a secure option for voters amid the pandemic.
Wendy Weiser, the director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, a New York-based research organization, said Mr. Trump’s comments effectively throw “the ball into Congress’s court” to provide the necessary money. Any funding bill, however, would require Mr. Trump’s signature to become law.
Democrats have pushed to infuse at least $2 trillion into the American economy and include money for state and local governments, food assistance programs and for election security and the Postal Service.
In addition to new funding for the Postal Service, Ms. Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, have called for legislative language that would counter some of the operational changes Mr. DeJoy has instituted.
At least one Republican has also expressed support for providing some additional money to the agency.
“I do disagree with the president on the need to support the Postal Service,” said Senator Susan Collins of Maine, one of a number of vulnerable Republicans up for re-election in November.