Postmaster General Louis DeJoy confessed Monday that he has no idea how much it costs to send a postcard through the U.S. mail as he faced a withering grilling from Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) before the House Oversight Committee.
DeJoy’s lack of knowledge on basic U.S. Postal Service information added fuel to Democrats’ accusation that he was named to the job by President Donald Trump to hamstring mail service before the presidential election. Critics say Trump and DeJoy aim to manipulate mail delivery to sway the vote in the president’s favor — or provide an excuse for Trump to challenge results, based on problems over the expected wide use of mail-in ballots, if he loses.
DeJoy, a businessman and prominent contributor to Trump’s reelection campaign and the Republican Party, also admitted that he had no idea — even to the “nearest 10 million” — how many Americans voted by mail in the last election.
DeJoy did know the cost of a first-class stamp when asked by Porter — but it went downhill from there.
“What is the cost of a first-class postage stamp?” Porter asked him.
“Fifty-five cents,” DeJoy said.
“What about to mail a postcard?” she asked.
“I don’t know,” DeJoy said, laughing. (It is 35 cents.)
Then Porter, who was not smiling, asked him about the cost of mailing a greeting card in a square envelope.
DeJoy, grinning, responded: “I’ll submit that I know very little about a postage stamp.”
“I’m concerned about your understanding of this agency,” Porter replied. “I’m particularly concerned about it because you started taking very decisive action when you became postmaster general. You started directing the unplugging and destroying of machines, changing of employee procedures and locking of collection boxes.”
DeJoy has ordered the dismantling of hundreds of mail-sorting machines that speed mail service and had letter collection boxes removed in several states — just ahead of an expected groundswell in mail-in voting as Americans seek to avoid the risk of contracting COVID-19 at crowded polling sites. He also cut overtime and eliminated extended deliveries, causing significant mail delays.
Even as equipment was being dismantled, the USPS sent a letter this month to 46 states warning that voters could be disenfranchised because their mail-in ballots might not be delivered before vote deadlines.
DeJoy insisted that the changes were planned before he took over in June.
“If you did not order these actions to be taken, please tell the committee the name of who did,” Porter said.
DeJoy answered: “I do not know.”
Check out the exchange between DeJoy and Porter in the clip up top.
Trump has already declared the Nov. 3 election the “most corrupt” in American history because of the anticipated surge in the use of mail-in ballots, even before a single vote has been cast. He has claimed, without any evidence, that the mail-in ballots will be “rigged,” even though he and first lady Melania Trump requested mail-in ballots for Florida’s primary last week.
Trump has all but admitted he is blocking a desperately needed infusion of funds to the cash-strapped Postal Service to hobble its ability to handle the expected surge in mail-in ballots.
The House voted Saturday to reverse the recent changes in USPS operations and provide the Postal Service with $25 billion in emergency funds to shore up service ahead of the Nov. 3 elections.