President Donald Trump said Monday that he has directed administration officials to “speed up” mail delivery after his attacks on the U.S. Postal Service reached a tipping point over the weekend.
“I have encouraged everybody to speed up the mail, not slow the mail,” Trump told reporters outside the White House, before departing for a campaign event in Minnesota.
The president’s remarks come as outrage among congressional Democrats reached new levels in recent days over the president’s treatment of the cash-strapped federal agency.
Trump admitted last week that he opposed additional funding for the Postal Service and election security grants because those provisions would help facilitate voting by mail amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Democratic lawmakers have also expressed concern over efforts by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a Trump-appointed Republican donor, to implement substantial operational changes at the agency.
The restructuring by DeJoy, Democrats allege, has produced backlogs and service interruptions ahead of the November election, when a record number of Americans are expected to vote by mail. On Monday, the president defended DeJoy’s leadership of the Postal Service and described the agency as “one of the disasters of the world.”
“I’m just making it good. We have a very, very good business guy running it, and I want to make — I jokingly say, but it’s true — I want to make the Post Office great again, okay?” Trump told Fox News.
“It’s been run horribly, and we’re going to make it good,” he added. “Now, what am I supposed to do? Let it continue to run badly? So if you fix it they say, ‘Oh, he’s tampering with the election.’ No, we’re not tampering.”
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced Sunday that she would summon House lawmakers back from their August recess to address what Democrats have characterized as the Trump administration’s attempts to undermine the Postal Service.
The president has long claimed without evidence that mail-in voting would have negative political consequences for the Republican Party and would result in widespread election fraud. In fact, there is no proof of the type of widespread voter fraud Trump has alleged and studies have shown that mail-in voting does not benefit one political party over the other.
Trump, in his Monday exchange with reporters, also argued that Pelosi’s move to call the House back into session represented an effort by the speaker and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to put pressure on the White House in stimulus negotiations.
“It’s a Nancy Pelosi con game with, you know, her associate, Schumer. This is a con game by Pelosi and Schumer,” he said.