President of the American Postal Workers Union Mark Dimondstein on Thursday called it “truly shameful” that President Donald Trump would “hold the post office hostage,” amid the coronavirus pandemic in an attempt to suppress and discourage Americans from voting.
“The cat’s out of the bag,” Dimondstein told MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell, referring to revelations earlier this week that — by his own admission — Trump said blocking a Democratic proposal for $25 billion of much-needed additional funding to the U.S. Postal Service would prevent widespread mail-in voting.
“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 said during a Fox Business interview Thursday morning, adding that by withholding the requested funding, mail-in voting would be crippled because the current mail service is “not equipped” to handle the increase in mailed ballots. Democratic lawmakers have pushed back in recent weeks of cost-cutting policy changes that some say have delayed election mail.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden called the move, “Pure Trump,” adding that his opponent “doesn’t want an election.”
Dimondstein, too, chastised the President for holding hostage the post office, which he called a “national treasure.” He accused the President of what he called attempts to “keep people from voting,” since ongoing health concerns have made it increasingly difficult for many people to vote safely in-person during the upcoming November election.
Dimondstein also criticized the President for perpetuating the “dangerous” and false claim that voting by mail wouldn’t work as a way to discourage people from voting at all.
“I think it’s very dangerous. It’s very disturbing to postal workers who are very dedicated to the people of the country, to provide prompt, reliable, and efficient services,” Dimonstein said, adding, “We call it our DNA. Never delay mail. We’re not beholden to any individual candidate or political party. We’re beholden to the rights of the American people to bind the country together. And what better way to do it than provide access to the ballot box.”
Trump’s attack on the USPS to boost his own chances amid dwindling poll numbers, comes as late last month the USPS warned in a letter to election officials in Pennsylvania, a crucial swing state in the 2020 election, that ballots cast “may not be returned by mail in time to be counted,” given limited resources and tight state deadlines.