Democrats are furious with President Trump this week after he rejected demands to fund the United States Postal Service (USPS) ahead of the upcoming 2020 election. The president spoke about withholding funds from the government-run mail service during an interview Thursday with Fox Business' Maria Bartiromo. On the same day, Vice News' Motherboard published a report outlining how mail sorting machines, the same ones used for sorting mail-in ballots, were being dismantled across the country for unknown reasons.
"They [the Democrats] want three and a half-billion dollars for something that'll turn out to be fraudulent — that's election money basically. They want $25 billion for the post office," President Trump said.
"Now, they need that money in order to have the post office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots. Now, in the meantime, they aren't getting there. But if they don't get those two items, that means you can't have universal mail-in voting because they're not equipped to have it."
President Trump has been on a crusade, criticizing the fraud behind mail-in voting, calling it "rigged" and the "scandal of our times." Last month, he even suggested the presidential election should be delayed due to the virus pandemic and the prospect of mail-in voting.
Motherboard said the dismantling of sorting machines was widespread, and there was no clear answer behind their removal from processing facilities.
Motherboard identified 19 mail sorting machines from five processing facilities across the U.S. that either have already been removed or are scheduled to be in the near future. But the Postal Service operates hundreds of distribution facilities around the country, so it is not clear precisely how many machines are getting removed and for what purpose.
Even to local union officials, USPS has not announced any policy, explained why they are doing this, what will happen to the machines and the workers who use them. Nor has management provided a rationale for dismantling and removing the machines from the facility rather than merely not operating them when they're not needed. -Motherboard
Motherboard spoke with USPS employees about the elimination of sorting machines and found no one had an explanation nor could point to any internal policy.
"I'm not sure you're going to find an answer for why [the machines being removed] makes sense," said Iowa Postal Workers Union President Kimberly Karol, "because we haven't figured that out either."
USPS spokesperson David Partenheimer told Motherboard the remove of the machines is 'routine':
"The Postal Service routinely moves equipment around its network as necessary to match changing mail and package volumes. Package volume is up, but mail volume continues to decline. Adapting our processing infrastructure to the current volumes will ensure more efficient, cost-effective operations and better service for our customers."
Democrats have denounced the president and longtime Republican fundraiser and GOP donor Louis DeJoy, who was recently appointed as Postmaster General.
Democrats allege the president and DeJoy are plotting to "sabotage" the mail service ahead of the election by causing massive bottlenecks in sorting during the time an influx of mail-in ballots flood processing facilities during or around November's election.
While the consequence of the president's stance to withhold billions of dollars in funding from the USPS and DeJoy's initiative to dismantle sorting machines ahead of the election is mostly unclear, though it suggests the Trump administration could be trying everything in their power to prevent mail-in voting by Democrats from stealing the election.