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The president on Friday blamed the “Democrat stronghold” US Postal Service for his election loss, even though he appointed a GOP mega-donor to lead it and spent months undermining the agency ahead of the election.
“Whistleblowers reveal that the USPS is responsible for tampering with hundreds of thousands of ballots,” Mr Trump tweeted on Friday morning, referencing a report to that effect from the far-right One America News Network. “This long time Democrat stronghold got rid of massive numbers, especially in swing states, during and before delivery of the ballots. Well documented evidence!”
He’s likely referencing to a recent story from OANN repeating the claims of Jesse Morgan. On Wednesday, Mr Morgan, who says he’s a postal contractor, claimed without evidence at a press conference convened by a Republican lawyer that he drove a truck full of hundreds of thousands of bogus mail-in ballots from New York to Pennsylvania. The claims quickly went viral, and the driver was retweeted by the president and interviewed on Fox News.
Authorities said they were investigating the claims, but Pennsylvania officials cast doubt on the allegations, noting that it’s not a surprise that mail-in ballots crossed state lines, as people could’ve have been currently out of state at the time they voted, or stuck somewhere because of coronavirus. The number of ballots Mr Morgan said he hauled to Pennsylvania also exceeded the total number of mail-in ballots requested in the counties he described by hundreds of thousands.
In May, Louis DeJoy, a North Carolina logistics executive who has given millions to the GOP and president Trump, was tapped to lead the Postal Service. Even before then, the president spent months trying to undercut the agency’s ability to deliver mail-in ballots because he thought they benefit Democrats.
In the spring, at the beginning of the coronavirus epidemic, Democrats pushed to add extra USPS funding to allow expanded mail-in voting, believing it would be safer during the pandemic.
Mr Trump criticized the push in March, telling Fox & Friends it was “crazy.”
“The things they had in there were crazy,” he said. “They had levels of voting, that if you ever agreed to it you'd never have a Republican elected in this country again."
In August, as funding for the Postal Service began to derail coronavirus aid negotiations, he told Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo he didn’t want the mail service to get money because it would expand the vote.
"If we don't make a deal, that means they don't get the money, that means they can't have universal mail-in voting,” he said. “They just can’t have it.”
The president also made numerous, false claims about the safety of mail-in voting, even though he has voted by mail in recent elections.
Meanwhile, Mr DeJoy instituted a number of service changes voting rights activists argued could hamper the vote, all while lawmakers and the White House continued to haggle over funding, with Democrats failing to get their $25 billion funding package for the agency past a successful vote in the House of Representatives. The USPS reached terms on a $10 billion emergency credit line from the Treasury Department in July, but has since struggled to get more much-needed funding.
The service changes, such as suggested overtime cuts and holding certain mail overnight, prompted widespread outrage from Democrats and voting advocates, including more than a dozen lawsuits, over worries the alterations could affect the vote during an unprecedented election.
In August, Mr DeJoy announced he would be suspending the changes until after the election.
The Postal Service says it delivered around 135 million ballots on election day.