The U.S. postmaster general, a major Trump donor and loyalist, announced in a Friday memo that he was reassigning and displacing 23 US Postal Service executives, including two who oversee day-to-day operations, the Washington Post reports.
The news caused alarm in Democratic circles, three months from a presidential election which plans to rely heavily on mail-in voting amid the coronavirus pandemic. “Friday Night Massacre” trended on Twitter at the news.
The News and Record reports: “DeJoy’s recent selection as postmaster general by the governing board sparked questions from some political observers because he is a prominent Republican fundraiser who donated heavily to Trump in recent years, reportedly more than $1 million. The president’s frequent warnings that he believes mail-in ballots are prone to fraud and could lead to a rigged election has left some wondering what DeJoy had in mind when he took the job.”
NPR adds: “The changes he has implemented have not assuaged those concerns. ‘Donald Trump is sabotaging the U.S Postal Service in an attempt to rig the election in his favor,’ tweeted Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, which was the first all vote-by-mail state, earlier this week. State and local election officials are also worried about the ramifications of the measures. ‘I’m very concerned that delays in postal delivery is going to have a negative effect on absentee ballots and vote-by-mail elections,’ Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman told NPR last week.”
Said Postmaster General Louis DeJoy on Friday night: “First, while I certainly have a good relationship with the President of the United States, the notion that I would ever make decisions concerning the Postal Service at the direction of the President, or anyone else in the Administration, is wholly off-base. I serve at the pleasure of the Governors of the Postal Service, a group that is bipartisan by statute and that will evaluate my performance in a nonpartisan fashion. The Postal Service itself has a proud tradition of being a nonpartisan organization, which I believe is one reason why the Postal Service is consistently rated by the public as the most trusted federal entity. I intend to uphold the trust that has been placed in me by the Governors, and to fulfill my responsibilities to this organization and to the public interest, by trying to make good decisions through the exercise of my best judgment and business acumen gained through 35 years of commercial experience, and not based upon any partisanship.”
“Second, let me be clear that with regard to Election Mail, the Postal Service and I are fully committed to fulfilling our role in the electoral process,” DeJoy added. “If public policy makers choose to utilize the mail as a part of their election system, we will do everything we can to deliver Election Mail in a timely manner consistent with our operational standards. We do ask election officials and voters to be mindful of the time that it takes for us to deliver ballots, whether it is a blank ballot going to a voter or a completed ballot going back to election officials. We have delivery standards that have been in place for many years. These standards have not changed, and despite any assertions to the contrary, we are not slowing down Election Mail or any other mail. Instead, we continue to employ a robust and proven process to ensure proper handling of all Election Mail.”