The Slatest

Democrats Decry “Sabotage” After “Friday Night Massacre” at Postal Service

United States Postal Service trucks are seen through a fence.
United States Postal Service trucks sit outside the Roberto Clemente Post Office on Aug. 25, 2009, in Chicago. Scott Olson/Getty Images

Several Democrats accused the Trump administration of trying to sabotage the country’s mail system after a broad restructuring of the United States Postal Service that some have characterized as a “Friday Night Massacre.” Postmaster General Louis DeJoy moved forward with a significant reorganization of the Postal Service leadership along with a hiring freeze for leadership positions. The reorganization involves the reassignment or displacement of 23 USPS executives, including some who had been at the Postal Service for decades. Among the targets of the reorganization were the two top executives who oversee daily operations at the Postal Service.

Postmaster General Louis Dejoy arrives at a meeting at the office of Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) at the U.S. Capitol August 5, 2020 in Washington, D.C.
Postmaster General Louis Dejoy arrives at a meeting at the office of Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) at the U.S. Capitol August 5, 2020 in Washington, D.C. Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Postal Service said that “the new organization will align functions based on core business operations and will provide more clarity and focus on what the Postal Service does best; collect, process, move and deliver mail and packages.” But analysts say the new structure gives more power to DeJoy, a big Trump ally who has been under scrutiny lately amid delivery delays and the way that could impact the election at a time when voting by mail is expected to soar because of the pandemic.

Rep. Gerry Connolly of Virginia, a Democrat who leads the committee that oversees the postal service characterized the USPS overhaul as “sabotage.” Connolly wrote on Twitter that the overhaul is “really a Trojan Horse” and amounts to “deliberate sabotage to disrupt mail service on the eve of the election — an election that hinges on mail-in ballots.” He wasn’t alone. Sen. Elizabeth Warren linked to a story of the shakeup and wondered: “How many ways can the new Postmaster General sabotage the @USPS?” Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon also used the word “sabotage” to characterize the administration’s actions regarding the Postal Service. Sen. Kamala Harris also joined in on the criticism, saying that the shakeup in the Postal Service’s leadership shows how “they are trying to take down the United States Postal Service from the inside—at a time when we need it the most.”

The shakeup in the USPS leadership came mere days after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer had a closed-door meeting with DeJoy that Schumer described as “heated.” Democrats have been critical of recent cost-cutting initiatives imposed by DeJoy, a big Trump donor, at the Postal Service that they say are impacting the service and could hinder the ability of Americans to vote by mail. Several key Democrats have called on the inspector general for the Postal Service to investigate the new policies imposed by DeJoy, who is the first postmaster general in nearly two decades who was not promoted from within the Postal Service.

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