President Donald Trump admitted to withholding funds for United States Postal Service (USPS) to block in-mail voting at a White House press conference on Thursday.
Trump continued repeating his baseless claims that in-mail voting is likely to lead to fraud and foreign interference.
“We have to have an honest election,” the president said when asked about in-mail voting at a news conference in the White House Briefing Room. “And if it’s not going to be an honest election, I guess people have to sit down and think really long and hard about it.”
On Thursday, during Fox News interview, Trump said that without the additional money the USPS won’t have the resources for the in-mail ballots that are expected to flood the postal service amid the pandemic.
“They need that money in order to have the post office work, so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots,” Trump said referring to Democrats negotiating for a deal. “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.”
“If we don’t make a deal, that means they don’t get the money,” Trump said. “That means they can’t have universal mail-in voting; they just can’t have it.”
Trump has repeatedly made claims without evidence that in-mail voting is more likely to be subject of voter fraud.
On Wednesday, however, Trump and the First Lady Melania Trump were mailed ballots.
White House spokesman said on Thursday that “the president supports absentee voting, not universal mail-in voting, which contain several safeguards that prevent fraud and abuse.”
Democrats criticized Trump for his remarks, accusing him of trying to gain advantage in November election and slow down his main competitor, presumptive Democratic candidate Joe Biden.
“The president is afraid of the American people,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) said at her weekly news conference. “He’s been afraid for a while, he knows that on the legit, it’d be hard for him to win, so he wants to put obstacles of participation.”
Biden’s spokesperson Andrew Bates similarly criticized Trump.
“The president of the United States is sabotaging a basic service that hundreds of millions of people rely upon, cutting a critical lifeline for rural economies and for delivery of medicines,” Bates said, “because he wants to deprive Americans of their fundamental right to vote safely during the most catastrophic public health crisis in over 100 years.”