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Trump pledges support for Postal Service after threatening its funding

President TrumpDonald John TrumpUSAID administrator tests positive for COVID-19 Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams among nominees for Time magazine's 2020 Person of the Year DOJ appeals ruling preventing it from replacing Trump in E. Jean Carroll defamation lawsuit MORE on Friday said he would “never let our Post Office fail,” just hours after threatening to block emergency assistance for the U.S. Postal Service if the agency did not raise its prices.

Trump called the Postal Service a “joke” during an exchange with reporters in the Oval Office on Friday and proposed that the agency should quadruple its current prices in order to make money. Trump said the agency was catering to companies like Amazon and losing money, and demanded that it raise its fees.

“If they don’t raise the price of the service they give, which is a tremendous service, and they do a great job and the postal workers are fantastic — but this thing's losing billions of dollars,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office.

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“It has for years because they don't want to insult for whatever reason, you can imagine, they don't want to insult Amazon and these other groups. If they don't raise the price, I'm not signing anything,” Trump continued.

As those remarks raised attention online, the president suddenly shifted with a tweet that appeared to walk back his earlier remarks.

“I will never let our Post Office fail. It has been mismanaged for years, especially since the advent of the internet and modern-day technology,” Trump tweeted. “The people that work there are great, and we’re going to keep them happy, healthy, and well!”

The Washington Post reported Thursday that the Trump administration was considering leveraging a $10 billion loan to the Postal Service authorized in a coronavirus relief package in order to secure reforms. 

Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinOn The Money: Initial jobless claims rise for 2nd week | Dow dips below 30K | Mnuchin draws fire for COVID-19 relief move | Manhattan DA appeals dismissal of Manafort charges Mnuchin to put 5B in COVID-19 relief funds beyond successor's reach The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Trump OKs transition; Biden taps Treasury, State experience MORE, who spoke alongside Trump in the Oval Office on Friday, said that the department would “put certain criteria for a postal reform program as part of the loan.” Mnuchin said he looked forward to seeing the board recruit a new postmaster general and executing on postal reform.

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Trump then said he would “go a step further,” demanding the agency raise its prices in order to receive the emergency funding.

Trump has long sought reform to the Postal Service, which he has characterized as mismanaged. The president has repeatedly charged that Amazon and other e-commerce companies have taken advantage of the Postal Service, costing it money. 

Mark Dimondstein, president of the American Postal Workers Union, called Trump’s Friday comments about the Postal Service “shameful.”

“President Trump’s clear intent is to raise prices and force a crisis at the Post Office so that his political benefactors at the corporate shippers can increase their company profits at the expense of the people,” Dimondstein said.

“Trump’s plan to increase package prices by four or five times would hasten the demise of the public U.S. Postal Service and end affordable, universal delivery to every address in the country.”

Updated: 5:48 p.m.