Trump says he’d sign bill funding USPS but won’t seek changes to help mail voting
President Trump on Thursday said he would be willing to sign legislation that includes funding for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), but rejected the idea that the agency should reverse policies that Democratic lawmakers warn will hamper mail-in voting.
The president’s comments at a White House press conference capped a day that started with him signaling opposition to USPS funding because he didn’t want the money to be used to broaden access to mail-in voting.
Despite showing some openness to agency funding later in the day, Trump continued to make misleading claims about mail ballots and call into question the potential result of the November election.
“Sure. A separate thing I would do it. But one of the reasons the post office needs that much money is to have all these millions of ballots coming in from nowhere,” Trump said at the press conference.
After initially saying he was opposed to giving the Post Office more money ahead of the election, Trump now says he would not veto legislation that increases its funding https://t.co/Nj065CIsxp pic.twitter.com/hbKEphRsZP
— CBS News (@CBSNews) August 13, 2020
The president insisted his opposition to another coronavirus relief package wasn’t based on post office funding, but was more about Democrats’ request for aid to cities and states, which he has characterized as a “bailout.”
But when asked if he would be willing to direct the postmaster general to reverse some of the policies that Democrats have criticized as undermining the reliability of the Postal Service, Trump would not budge.
“No, not at all. No, I wouldn’t do that at all. No,” he said. “I want the post office to run properly, which makes sense. They would need a lot more money if they’re going to be taking in tens of millions of ballots that just come out of the sky from nowhere.”
Election officials are expecting voters to rely more heavily on mail ballots in November due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has led to fewer polling places and raised concerns about at-risk individuals casting ballots in person.
Trump has repeatedly railed against mail voting, claiming it will lead to a “rigged” and “fraudulent” election result. Experts say there is little meaningful fraud associated with mail ballots.
Trump earlier in the day suggested he was opposed to USPS funding because it would help universal mail-in voting this fall.
“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.”
Democrats have pushed for $25 billion in USPS funding, an amount Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday was recommended by the agency’s board of governors. Democratic leaders have proposed an additional $3.5 billion in supplemental funding to be used for election resources amid the pandemic.
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 in November.
House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday introduced legislation that would block USPS from implementing a series of changes during the pandemic.
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy announced recently that the service was removing two top officials in charge of day-to-day operations. A organizational chart also showed that 23 postal officials were reassigned and five staffers left their positions for new roles in leadership.
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