President Donald Trump said on Monday that he would be open to investigating and potentially removing the head of the U.S. Postal Service over allegations of campaign finance violations.
Speaking at a White House news conference, Trump made the remarks in response to a Washington Post investigation that reported Postmaster General Louis DeJoy had pushed employees at his former North Carolina-based company to donate to Republican campaigns and reimbursed them using bonuses. If true, the acts would be a violation of campaign finance law.
When asked about the report, Trump said he would be open to an investigation, but stressed that he wasn’t familiar with the details. When asked whether he would be OK with DeJoy‘s being dismissed if he were found to have violated campaign finance law, Trump said yes.
“If something can be proven that he did something wrong, always,” Trump said.
The president defended DeJoy as “a very respected man,” but his openness to an investigation contrasts with strong pushbacks against other suspicions of him or his inner circle throughout his administration.
A spokesperson for the Postal Service did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Trump’s remarks. A private spokesperson for DeJoy did not respond to requests for comment.
The campaign finance allegations were already enough to raise the eyebrows of North Carolina’s attorney general, Josh Stein, who said on Sunday that they were worthy of an investigation.
“It is against the law to directly or indirectly reimburse someone for a political contribution,” Stein said in a pair of tweets. “Any credible allegations of such actions merit investigation by the appropriate state and federal authorities. Beyond this, it would be inappropriate for me as Attorney General to comment on any specific matter at this time.”
Since his appointment in May, DeJoy has faced fire from critics who say the former logistics company CEO and GOP megadonor is treating the Postal Service like a private company rather than a public service. He faced particular backlash amid reports that he was reducing infrastructure that seriously hindered the service’s performance in the name of cost cutting. House Democrats accused DeJoy of doing so to incapacitate mail-in voting just as an unprecedented number of Americans prepare to vote by mail because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Before assuming leadership of the Postal Service, DeJoy and his wife were a major force for Republican fundraising in North Carolina. DeJoy’s wife, Aldona Wos, served as ambassador to Estonia under President George W. Bush and was appointed to serve as Trump’s ambassador to Canada.