President Donald Trump suggested on Thursday that he was intentionally blocking additional funding for the US Postal Service in an effort to disrupt attempts to expand mail-in voting amid the coronavirus pandemic — an effort that the Biden campaign has called a desperate man’s “assault on democracy.”
Biden campaign rapid response director Andrew Bates told TPM in a statement that Trump’s effort to deny a Democratic proposal for additional funding for the USPS amounted to a selfish move to deprive Americans of their fundamental right to vote safely.
“Even Donald Trump’s own campaign has endorsed voting by mail, and his own administration has conclusively refuted his wild-eyed conspiracy theories about the most secure form of voting,” Bates said in the statement. “This is an assault on our democracy and economy by a desperate man who’s terrified that the American people will force him to confront what he’s done everything in his power to escape for months — responsibility for his own actions.”
Trump suggested as much during a White House press conference Wednesday, implying that perhaps without the additional funding, his woes about vote-by-mail, which he is convinced will hurt him in November, will just disappear.
“They don’t have the money to do the universal mail-in voting,” Trump said on Wednesday. “Therefore, they can’t do it, I guess. Right?”
The President, whose comments imply a commitment to leveraging his office to boost his campaign prospects, appears to be bent on crippling efforts by congressional Democrats to make voting safer amid the pandemic, which he is convinced will hurt his chances for re-election.
The previous coronavirus relief bill, known as the CARES Act, provided USPS a $10 billion loan. Trump has said he is unwilling to budge on congressional Democrats’ request for $25 billion in USPS funding this round — which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) confirmed during an MSNBC interview Thursday morning was simply the figure requested by the Trump-appointed USPS Board of Governors.
“When the President goes after the Postal Service, he’s going after an all-American, highly approved-by-the-public institution,” Pelosi told “Morning Joe” hosts, adding that the dollar-amount for the USPS camedirectly from a recommendation by a bipartisan Board of Governors “100 percent appointed by Donald Trump.”
Trump has for months railed against mail-in voting broadly, changing course recently to direct those attacks at Democratic-governed states, suggesting that voting-by-mail in GOP-led states like Florida is safe and secure.
Read the Biden campaign’s full statement below:
“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 — a crisis so devastatingly worsened by his own failed leadership that we are now the hardest hit country in the world by the coronavirus pandemic. Even Donald Trump’s own campaign has endorsed voting by mail, and his own administration has conclusively refuted his wild-eyed conspiracy theories about the most secure form of voting. This is an assault on our democracy and economy by a desperate man who’s terrified that the American people will force him to confront what he’s done everything in his power to escape for months – responsibility for his own actions.”