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Reality Check: How The Postal Service Turned Into A Political Football Under Trump

"This problem predates President Trump, but his new postmaster general isn't helping," John Avlon said.
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John Avlon did one of his Reality Check segments about the USPS this morning.

"Now, you might ask yourself how the post office became a political battleground with the election now just 78 days out," Avlon said.

"Well, buckle up for a quick ride, how the Post Office got into a cash crisis, started slowing down delivery and removing hundreds of sorting machines, both under the new postmaster general, a Trump mega donor, culminating in the Post Office warning that voters could be disenfranchised by delayed mail-in ballots during a pandemic -- all while President Trump admitted his end game."

They need to money to make the Post Office work. That means you can't have universal mail-in voting because they're not equipped to have it.

"Trump's saying the quiet part out loud again, sabotaging the Post Office to suppress mail-in voting, despite requesting one himself. Facts first: The Founders put the Post Office in the Constitution. It's a public service, not a business, and it trounces other federal agencies with a stunning 91% approval rating. So, that's more than twice President Trump's job approval and five times as popular as Congress.

"But the Postal Service has been in financial trouble for more than a decade, and it's not just because of email. But a 2006 act of Congress which required that the postal service to fully fund its retiree health benefits 50 years into the future (editor's note: actually, it's 75 years), something no other business or government entity has to do. So, this problem predates President Trump, but his new postmaster general isn't helping.

"Louis DeJoy was put in place this summer after donating millions to Trump and the Republicans, keeping a $30 to $75 million stake in his former company, a postal service contractor, and a major conflict of interest to many, except the Postal Service ethics officials who cleared him. But the real controversy came when DeJoy started making his money-saving reforms, which caused delays in delivery, reduced operating hours, cut overtime, removed mailboxes, and high-speed letter sorting machines, the kind that process mail-in ballots. An outcry and an IG investigation followed, but Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows tried to clean it up here on CNN."

There's no sorting machines that are going offline between now and the election.

"He's saying that it's not going to happen anymore, not that it hasn't been done. There have been reports of sorting machines taken offline in Pennsylvania, Iowa, Missouri, and Michigan, to name a few. And CNN obtained documents showing a more detailed plan to move 671 machines offline by the end of September in dozens of other states. CNN also obtained photos from a source claiming this used to be a sorting machine. not only removed, but in pieces, in crates, which gets us back to the original question.

"Given the expected massive increase in mail-in voting, why would Trump's new postmaster hamstring the ability to handle mail before the election? We may get answers as DeJoy comes before Congress as Pelosi brings lawmakers back to approve funding and block changes for the Post Office.

"But it seems clear that President Trump is trying to reduce confidence in our elections and suppress the vote, even before a single ballot has been cast. And that's your reality check," Avlon concluded.

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