White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said Sunday the U.S. Postal Service will not be taking mail sorting machines offline prior to the Nov. 3 election.
Meadows appeared on the CNN show “State of the Union” and pushed back against comments from CNN’s Jake Tapper, who accused the Postal Service of slowing down the mail deliberately and President Donald Trump of trying to disenfranchise voters.
“It has been two months since President Trump installed a loyal supporter as postmaster general,” Tapped asked in launching the interview. “This is somebody who’s been pushing various measures that have caused serious mail delays in parts of the country.
“Now the Postal Service is warning states about vote-by-mail delays in November. This all comes as the president is escalating attacks on voting by mail.
“Why is President Trump trying to prevent Americans from exercising their right to vote, if they choose to vote this way, especially during a pandemic?”
“The funding in terms of stopping voting is not accurate,” Meadows said.
“Louis DeJoy, the postmaster general sent out a notice to these states that said, ‘Listen, if you have got a tight time frame, you may want to look at adjusting that, because even the post office’s guaranteed two-day mail is not guaranteed to get there in two days,'” he said.
Meadows noted that the delivery issues are not just “a problem under the Trump administration. That was a problem under the previous administration and under the previous postmaster general.”
“You know, when we look at all of this, every single month, Jake, 8.6 billion pieces of mail go through the postal workers’ hands and through letter carriers, whether they’re rural or in our cities, 8.6 billion. Even if every single voter voted by mail, we’re talking about a 1.5 percent difference that — and I was in the room. I was in the room when the postmaster general said he’s willing to pay overtime to make sure that that happened,” he said.
Tapper asked why the White House did not support adding funding instead of taking machines offline.
“Well, there’s no sorting machines that are going offline between now and the election. That’s something that my Democrat friends are trying to do to stoke fear out there. That’s not happening,” Meadows said.
“I can tell you that the sorting machines — listen, the volume of first-class mail that they have at the postal system right now, we haven’t seen that volume since I was 17 years old. It’s not a volume problem,” he said.
Meadows said Democrats are raising fear where none should exist.
“What this is, is a political narrative by my Democrat colleagues,” the White House chief of staff said.
“I’m saying that sorting machines between now and the election will not be taken offline,” he said.
Tapper then asked about reports that sorting machines had been taken offline in some places.
“Get your producer to share where exactly those sorting machines were taken offline. Let him whisper in your ear, because what I’m telling you is, you’re picking up on a narrative that’s not based on facts,” Meadows said.
After explaining to Tapper that sorting machines are routinely taken offline for short periods of time, he said that “a sorting machine to handle 100 million ballots, it’s like an a gnat on an elephant’s back. It’s not going to matter, with 8.6 billion pieces of mail going through the Postal Service every year.”
The comments from Meadows came as Democrats have summoned DeJoy to an Aug. 24 House Oversight Committee hearing to testify concerning operating changes in the Postal Service, according to Reuters.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Sunday accused DeJoy of trying to “undermine” the Postal Service, according to the New York Post.
“What has been — and continues — to go on with the Postal Service, the undermining and destructive policies that are so clearly intent on upending a system that has worked for generations, has simply got to stop,” he said.
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