House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy broke ranks with Donald Trump on Friday, telling CNBC that he supports funding the U.S. Postal Service.
"The Postal Service will have the funding that it needs," McCarthy said, adding, "We will make sure of that." McCarthy claimed Trump would not oppose the funding despite repeated statements by Trump saying he would do just that.
In May, McCarthy voted against a House coronavirus relief bill, the HEROES ACT, that would have provided $25 billion for the post office.
Shortly before the vote, Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA), chair of the House Government Operations subcommittee, warned: "If President Trump and the Senate GOP demand anything less than the Heroes Act provides, the Postal Service will continue to sink."
On Thursday, Trump told Fox Business that he opposed funding the Postal Service to keep people from being able to vote by mail.
"They want $3.5 billion for the mail-in votes, universal mail-in ballots. They want $25 billion, billion, for the post office," Trump said. "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. 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."
Later on Thursday, Trump said he would not veto a coronavirus relief bill over funding for the post office.
On the same day, the Associated Press reported that both Trump and his wife had requested absentee ballots in their home state of Florida.
Despite overwhelming evidence that voting by mail is safe and secure, both Trump and McCarthy have previously attacked efforts to expand absentee voting, even during the pandemic.
Trump, who had regularly voted by mail, said the method is subject to fraud. McCarthy made a similarly false statement in April, saying "there's also a lot of fraud" in absentee voting. The Trump campaign is suing Nevada for making it easier for residents to vote by mail.
In addition to Trump's rhetoric, his administration has taken actions that appear to undermine the ability of the Postal Service to deliver mail in a timely manner.
Over the past several months, Louis DeJoy, the new postmaster general appointed by Trump in May, has instituted changes to agency that have resulted in slower mail delivery.
There are "widespread mail slowdowns of all kinds of mail — first-class, marketing mail, parcels," said Philip F. Rubio, an expert on the Postal Service who teaches at North Carolina A&T State University with an expertise in the post office.
Rubio called Trump's rhetoric about withholding funding from the Postal Service "political sabotage," adding that he was "using his power of the veto to interfere with the democratic process and keep mail-in balloting from being more successful."
Rubio told Politico: "What Postmaster General DeJoy appears to be doing is enabling Trump's external sabotage, only DeJoy is internally sabotaging the Postal Service while denying that his policies of cutting overtime, of holding back first-class mail are anything more than what he referred to as sensationalized, isolated incidents."
DeJoy has denied reports that he has tried to slow down mail delivery, telling the Board of Governors of the United States Postal Service on Aug. 7 that "the Postal Service has ample capacity to deliver all election mail securely and on time in accordance with our delivery standards, and we will do so."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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