Barack Obama slammed President Donald Trump for trying to ‘actively kneecap’ the postal service to disenfranchise voters.
Obama did not say Trump’s name but did refer to the ‘president’ in his interview on the podcast of David Plouffe, his former campaign manager, in some of his harshest, direct criticism of Trump to date.
‘What we’ve seen in a way that is unique to modern political history is a President who is explicit in trying to discourage people from voting,’ Obama said. ‘What we’ve never seen before is a President say, ‘I’m going to try to actively kneecap the postal service to encourage voting and I will be explicit about the reason I’m doing it.”
‘That’s sort of unheard of,’ he added.
Obama’s criticism comes as the U.S. Postal Service is entering a crisis stage – under attack from President Trump who has falsely said mail-in ballots cause voter fraud and called the post office unable to handle the millions of ballots expected to go through it for the November contest.
And Democrats hauled the new postmaster General Louis DeJoy – a major Republican donor and big contributor to President Trump – to Capitol Hill to question him about policies that postal workers say is causing deliveries in the mail, including cutting over time pay, firing executives, and removing sorting machines.
The inspector general of the U.S. Postal Service is launching a review of DeJoy’s policies, CNN reported, at the request of Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.
And 46 states – many of them crucial ones that will decide who will win the White House in November – have been warned by the postal service that it cannot guarantee all mail-in ballots will arrive in time to be counted.
Obama became the most-high profile name to add his criticism to the situation when he accused Trump of starving the U.S. Postal Service of much needed funds in order to re-ensure his re-election. The former president challenged Republicans to do something about it.
‘You now have the President throwing in this additional monkey wrench trying to starve the postal service,’ Obama said. ‘My question is what are Republicans doing where you are so scared of people voting that you are now willing to undermine what is part of the basic infrastructure of American life?’
The accusations from the former president come as the U.S. Postal Service sent detailed letters to 46 states and the District of Columbia warning that it cannot guarantee all mail-in ballots will arrive in time to be counted for November’s election, The Washington Post reported.
The letters indicate that even if a voter follows all the rules in the state to vote by mail, their vote may not count. Millions of voters are expected to utilize the post office this November amid fears of the coronavirus.
The post office got caught up in a political fight between Democrats and President Trump over an emergency funding provision for the service in an overall bill designed to offer financial relief from the coronavirus. Democrats want $25 billion for the service but President Trump called it election money although he has since indicated he may be inclined to cut a deal.
Democratic Congressional leaders Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer also slammed Trump as the two sides negotiate money for the postal service as part of the coronavirus relief talks.
‘The President, his cronies and Republicans in Congress continue to wage their all-out assault on the Postal Service and its role in ensuring the integrity of the 2020 election,’ the two leaders said in a joint statement.
Meanwhile, concerns about mail-in voting have deepened after the postal service warned officials in the critical battleground state of Pennsylvania that some ballots may not be delivered in time.
Michigan and Florida are other key states that could see ballots not be counted because of postal delays.
Additionally, it was revealed President Trump had an Oval Office meeting last week with Postmaster General Louis DeJoy amid allegations the billionaire mega-donor to the Republican Party has put policies in place that are holding up delivery of the mail.
The White House told The Washington Post the meeting was a ‘congratulatory’ meeting because DeJoy was recently appointed to the position but it came before his tense meeting on Capitol Hill last week with Democratic Leaders Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Ch….