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Trump says no Post Office funding means Democrats 'can't have universal mail-in voting'

President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump DOJ demanded metadata on 73 phone numbers and 36 email addresses, Apple says Putin says he's optimistic about working with Biden ahead of planned meeting Biden meets Queen Elizabeth for first time as president MORE on Thursday suggested that he was unwilling to make a deal with Democrats that included funding for the Postal Service because it would prevent universal mail-in voting during the election this year.

Trump, who has for weeks made exaggerated and inaccurate claims about mail-in voting, made his clearest argument to date that he opposes funding for the post office that Democrats have pushed as part of coronavirus legislation because it would strengthen access to mail-in ballots.

"They want $25 billion for the post office. 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. "Now in the meantime, they aren't getting there. By the way, those are just two items. But if they don't get those two items that means you can't have universal mail-in voting, because they're not equipped to have it."

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"Now, if we don't make a deal that means they don't get the money. That means they can't have universal mail-in voting," Trump added. "They just can't have it. So, you know, sort of a crazy thing."

Democrats passed legislation in May that would allocate $25 billion over three years to the Postal Service as part of broader coronavirus relief. Democratic leaders have proposed an additional $3.5 billion in supplemental funding to be used for election resources amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has complicated in-person voting.

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Democrats have pushed for wider access to mail-in ballots, noting that there will be fewer polling places due to the pandemic and arguing that at-risk populations may rely more heavily on voting absentee.

But Trump has attempted to sow doubt about the reliability of mail-in ballots, claiming the election will be "rigged" and "fraudulent" despite experts insisting there is scant meaningful fraud tied to mail-in voting.

"You know, there's nothing wrong with getting out and voting," Trump said Thursday. "You get out and vote. They voted during World War I and World War II."

The Postal Service has been caught up in a political fight amid the pandemic, with Democrats worrying that Trump's appointee to lead the agency may undercut the delivery of mail ballots.

Multiple lawmakers on Thursday criticized Trump's comments. Rep. Jimmy GomezJimmy GomezThe Memo: Marjorie Taylor Greene exposes GOP establishment's lack of power House Democrat drafting resolution to censure Greene over Holocaust comments Ocasio-Cortez on Taylor Greene: 'These are the kinds of people that I threw out of bars all the time' MORE (D-Calif.) tweeted that Trump was "saying the quiet part loud," while Rep. Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesPelosi signals no further action against Omar House unveils antitrust package to rein in tech giants Wray grilled on FBI's handling of Jan. 6 MORE (D-N.Y.), a member of House Democratic leadership, said "the effort to destroy the Post Office is part of a continuing conspiracy to steal the election."