August 14, 2020
In 1789, an elderly Benjamin Franklin famously wrote to French physicist Jean-Baptiste Le Roy that “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”
With all due respect to both Franklin and Le Roy, I’d like to humbly submit a third certainty to the list: President Trump, in moments of flailing unpopularity, will call up a painfully sycophantic conservative media outlet to blabber about his latest extremely illegal scheme.
On Thursday, amid stalled negotiations for a new coronavirus relief package, and multiple reports that the president’s newly installed mail chief is kneecapping his staff to deliberately wreak havoc with the U.S. Postal Service, Trump called in to Fox Business where he said the quiet (if painfully obvious) part loud: He is withholding funding to the struggling, essential postal system, because he doesn’t want people safely voting by mail during a global pandemic.
“They want three and a half trill … billion dollars for the mail-in votes, okay? Universal mail-in ballots. They want $25 billion — billion — for the Post Office,” Trump told Fox Business anchor Maria Bartiromo. “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,” he continued. “By the way, those are just two items, but if they don’t get those two items that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting.”
That the president has made universal (and universally safe) mail-in voting his preferred electoral bogeyman this year is not exactly a secret — the thinking being that the more people who can vote, the more danger he is in. Nor is the fact that his handpicked Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a former campaign contributor, is gleefully dismantling the Postal Service’s operational capacity ahead of an election that will rely heavily on mail-in ballots due to fears of voting in person during the coronavirus pandemic.
Still, the fact Trump finally just came out and casually put the two pieces together so matter-of-factly is noteworthy, if for no other reason than it is the most brazen he’s been to date when it comes to laying out one of his plans to manipulate the upcoming election in his favor. The only question now is: Will he get away with it?