House Majority Whip James Clyburn told Yahoo News on Tuesday that he is “not one bit” reassured by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s promise that cost-cutting measures will be postponed until after the November election so that mail-in ballots are delivered on time.
DeJoy is set to appear in Congress on Friday to face lawmakers who are demanding answers about the service cuts, which have hit rural Americans particularly hard and raised questions about how voters will be able to receive and return mail-in ballots. A Trump donor, DeJoy said Tuesday that he was pausing his efforts to reduce costs at the Postal Service “to avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail.”
Clyburn, a longtime congressman from South Carolina, said he remains alarmed by the Trump administration’s reluctance to spend more money on the Postal Service and is not convinced by DeJoy’s assertion.
“As Maya Angelou says, When someone tells you who they are, believe them the first time,” Clyburn said in an interview with “Skullduggery,” a Yahoo News podcast. “He’s shown us who he is and I’m going to believe him.”
Clyburn noted that the cuts at the Postal Service took place after DeJoy met with Trump in the Oval Office. For months, Trump has been loudly and baselessly deriding the mail-in voting system as rife with fraud.
“The president said it himself: ‘If we let them use the mail to mail in ballots we’ll lose.’ The president said that so I don’t know why all of a sudden people are going to think that this announcement changes things. ... This president’s got very low regard for the Constitution,” Clyburn said.
Clyburn also said that he has recently visited post offices in parts of South Carolina and realized how deeply attached rural Americans are to them.
“The post office is enshrined in our Constitution,” Clyburn said. “I call it the thread, the major thread, that holds the fabric of this country together.”
The congressman said he is working to get additional funding for the post office to send first-class prepaid ballots to voters, saying that without them the requirement to use first-class mail acts as “a sophisticated poll tax.”
Clyburn, a longtime member of the House, also told “Skullduggery” that he had recommended Biden select Sen. Kamala Harris in private conversations before she was picked. Clyburn — whose endorsement of Biden helped catapult him to the Democratic nomination — had long pushed the former vice president to select a woman of color, but had not previously publicly expressed a preference for a specific candidate.
The majority whip said that while Biden was “disappointed” when Harris attacked him on the debate stage because the former vice president “felt so close to her,” Biden nonetheless overlooked the moment and selected her as his running mate. Clyburn said it took some time for Biden’s closest confidants to warm to Harris because of the attacks, but that is behind everyone now.
“You always have a problem when you like somebody and all your friends don’t like them,” Clyburn said. “I think he was working through that, but I don’t think he ever had any problem with Kamala as a person.”
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