Trump vows to block funding for US postal vote

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Donald Trump has threatened to deprive the U.S. Post of funding needed for postal voting in the November presidential race, a move that could undermine a system that will play a bigger role than usual in the election.

While Republicans and Democrats still disagree on a Covid-19 stimulus package, Mr Trump has warned that he will not accept any legislation providing money to facilitate postal voting.

The U.S. Postal Service needs funds to deal with the sharp increase in mail-in ballots expected due to the pandemic. “They need this money to run the post office, so it could take all those millions and millions of ballots,” Trump told Fox Business on Thursday.

“If we don’t make a deal, it means they don’t get the money. This means that they can’t have universal postal voting, they just can’t have it. ”

Mr. Trump has in recent months denounced postal voting, which he says without evidence is “riddled with fraud.” He follows Joe Biden, the Democratic candidate, in the national and swing-state polls.

“Pure Trump. He doesn’t want an election, ”Biden said Thursday.

Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Speaker of the House, spoke to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Wednesday for the first time in five days. But they made no progress on an economic stimulus package, with each side accusing the other of being deadlocked.

Democrats accused Mr Trump of attempting to sabotage the election by blocking $ 3.5 billion for postal voting, plus $ 25 billion for the U.S. Postal Service included in their proposal at the request of the Council of board governors.

“Trump admitted this morning that he was sabotaging the USPS to prevent people from voting safely by mail during a deadly pandemic,” Hillary Clinton tweeted Thursday, who lost the 2016 election to Mr. Trump.

After criticism, Mr Trump appeared to backtrack, suggesting during a press briefing Thursday afternoon that he would not veto a bill with
financing of the post office. “If we could accept a bill, the comprehensive bill, that would be good,” the president said. Even at the same briefing, he again expressed doubts about postal funding.

” All [Democrats] must do is make a deal and. . . the postal service
is taken care of, the money they need to send the ballots would be
taken care of, if we have accepted it does not mean that we will
accept it, ”he said.

Democrats argued that the post office provided essential services, such as the delivery of prescription drugs to U.S. veterans. In recent years, the Post’s revenue has plummeted as its debt has accumulated, even as the pandemic has created an increase in demand for parcel shipping.

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“When the president attacks the postal service, he attacks an all-American institution that is highly trusted by the public,” Pelosi said.

Larry Kudlow, the White House’s top economic official, told economic news channel CNBC on Thursday: “A lot of Democratic demands are truly liberal left-wing wish lists. . . you know, the right to vote and help foreigners and so on. This is not our game, and the president cannot agree to this kind of agreement.

The recriminations come as the White House and Democrats struggle to close a nearly $ 2.5 billion gap in their proposals. The Democratic-controlled House earlier this year passed a $ 3.5 billion bailout. Republicans want to limit the stimulus package to $ 1 billion.

Mr. Trump’s stance on postal voting could put him on a collision course with major social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, which plan to provide tools for users to boost civic engagement.

On Thursday, Facebook announced the launch of a voting information center designed to encourage 4 million users to register to vote, as well as to fight election misinformation. The center will allow users to see if their state has postal voting options and to request postal or postal ballots if so.

When asked if he would act on Mr. Trump’s posts to discredit mail-in voting or the election result, Facebook’s cybersecurity policy chief Nathaniel Gleicher said he was “particularly focused ”on this issue and would seek to provide additional context. alongside any claim.

Twitter – which has already aroused the president’s ire for adding warning labels to some of his posts – said it planned to expand its policies to tackle what it described as an increase in misleading posts around postal voting and other parts of the voting process, such as registration.

Additional reporting by Kadhim Shubber in Washington

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