After weeks of claiming that the upcoming 2020 presidential election would be "rigged" and "fraudulent" due to mail-in ballots, President Donald Trump on Thursday admitted that opposes further funding for the U.S. Postal Service to block mail-in voting. As the coronavirus pandemic continues to sweep the nation, many states are moving towards mail-in ballots for the election, with Trump acknowledging in an interview with Fox Business' Maria Bartiromo that blocking funding for the postal service will starve the agency of money needed to process the influx of mail-in ballots.
"They [the Democrats] want three and a half-billion dollars for something that'll turn out to be fraudulent — that's election money basically. They want $25 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. 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."
The president's remarks have immediately been condemned, with presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden calling his intentions an "assault on democracy." In a statement released via his campaign spokesperson, Andrew Bates, Biden said that the president "is sabotaging a basic service" that many Americans rely on, NPR reports. He said that the president is "cutting a critical lifeline for rural economies and for delivery of medicines" due to his desire "to deprive Americans of their fundamental right to vote safely during the most catastrophic public health crisis in over 100 years — a crisis so devastatingly worsened by his own failed leadership that we are now the hardest-hit country in the world by the coronavirus pandemic."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, meanwhile, denied the president's allegations that she and other Democrats are seeking funding for USPS solely for mail-in voting. Explaining the $25 billion allocated for the postal service in the HEROES Act, Pelosi said Thursday that the figure was recommended by the board of governors of the Postal Service. She explained that Americans rely on USPS to deliver several things, including prescription drugs and paychecks to workers.
Currently, eight states are mailing ballots to all active voters this fall, six of which have been doing just that for years. Others are providing voters the option to vote by mail if they wish. As more states move to allow mail-in voting, however, the president has moved to sow public distrust, baselessly claiming that mail-in ballots will lead to widespread voter fraud.