President Donald Trump has predicted catastrophe if states continue to pursue universal mail-in voting for the November election, saying there will be chaos and massive delays in announcing results.
‘Universal mail-in voting is going to be catastrophic, it’s going to make our country the laughing stock of the world,’ Trump said at a press conference at his New Jersey golf club on Saturday.
Trump blamed Democrats for failing to make a deal on emergency funding for the U.S. Postal Service, which faces historic revenue shortfalls in the pandemic, and defended his new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, who has come under heavy criticism for cost-cutting measures that have cast doubt upon the agency’s ability to handle election mail on-schedule.
‘He wants to make the Post Office great again, the Post Office is a catastrophe,’ Trump said of DeJoy, a Republican donor and businessman he appointed in June and tasked with trying to make the Postal Service more profitable.
‘Universal mail-in voting is going to be catastrophic, it’s going to make our country the laughing stock of the world,’ Trump said at a press conference on Saturday
Trump has been accused of purposely blocking emergency funding to the USPS in order to cause chaos in the November election, but on Saturday he said Democrats were to blame.
New Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has come under criticism for cost-cutting
He said that Democrats were unwilling to sign off on the USPS funding unless they got their full coronavirus aid package, including ‘a trillion dollars to bail out badly run Democrat states.’
Trump indicated that he’d be willing to sign a bill that included USPS funding as well as stimulus checks for individuals, but not the Democrats’ entire package.
‘I want to give money to the people. I want to put money in the people’s hands. They want to put money in the politicians’ hands so they don’t look stupid,’ he said.
Citing issues with primary and runoff elections in New York, New Jersey and elsewhere that were conducted largely by mail, he said the push for a vote-by-mail for November would end in disaster.
‘You are going to have a catastrophic situation with universal mail-in voting,’ Trump said.
‘The problem with the mail-in voting is you’re never going to know when the election is over,’ he added, saying results might not come in ‘for months or for years.’
Trump spent much of the press conference touting progress in reducing the spread of coronavirus and improvements in the U.S. economy, saying ‘if stupid people aren’t elected next year, we’re going to have one of the greatest years we’ve ever had.’
In June, DeJoy, a Republican donor and logistics company executive, took over as the new postmaster general and Trump tasked him with trying to make the Postal Service more profitable.
Supporters of the activist group ‘Shut Down DC’ protest outside the apartment of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy in Washington, DC on Saturday
On Thursday, Trump acknowledged he is blocking funds for the US Postal Service to make it more difficult for the agency to handle mail-in ballots for November’s presidential election
DeJoy cut overtime, late delivery trips and other expenses that ensure mail arrives at its destination on time. The result has been a national slowdown of mail.
The Postal Service is hoping for a $10 billion infusion from Congress to continue operating, but talks between Democrats and Republicans over a broad pandemic relief package that could have included that money have broken down.
On Saturday morning, hundreds of noisy protesters descended on the Washington D.C. home of Postmaster General DeJoy and accused him of engaging in voter suppression.
The ‘noise demonstration’, led by Shutdown D.C., marched to DeJoy’s Kalorama condo where they blew horns and beat on saucepans to issue an early morning ‘wake up call’ to the Trump donor.
The protesters called for DeJoy to be fired as they claimed he has been aiding Trump in meddling with the election.
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, left, is escorted to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office on Capitol Hill in Washington earlier this month
It comes after former President Barack Obama accused Trump of ‘kneecapping USPS’ to suppress voters by withholding the vital funding needed to ensure that mail-in ballots can be adequately processed and delivered in November.
On Friday, the Postal Service’s inspector general announced it is examining possible conflicts of interest involving DeJoy, who has donated $2.7 million to Trump and his fellow Republicans, and his recent changes to the Postal Service.
DeJoy owns millions of dollars in stock in Postal Service rivals and customers, according to a financial disclosure form filed by his wife.
Since his appointment, which was made despite him having no background in the postal service, DeJoy has been highly criticized for the ‘cost-cutting’ changes he has made, including eliminating overtime for hundreds of thousands of postal employees and mandating that mail be held if distribution centers are understaffed or running behind.
All the measures are said to have caused widespread delays in the postal service.
The Inspector General’s Office is ‘conducting a body of work to address concerns raised,’ spokeswoman Agapi Doulaveris said.
Democratic congressional leaders and committee leaders also sent a letter to DeJoy on Friday demanding an explanation for changes he is making at postal facilities.
‘Postmaster General DeJoy’s brief term has already become one of the darkest in USPS history,’ Democratic Virginia Rep. Gerry Connolly said in a statement.
‘On the eve of a presidential election, in the midst of the worst public health pandemic in 100 years, Mr. DeJoy has pledged his allegiance to the political expedience of President Trump at the expense of protecting our democracy and access to the ballot.
‘He has deliberately enacted policies to sabotage the Postal Service to serve only one person, President Trump. He has failed the American people. Mr. DeJoy must resign.’