Former President Barack Obama said on Friday that he is worried about protecting the integrity of November's election in view of efforts by President Donald Trump to "kneecap" the U.S. Postal Service to limit Americans voting by mail during the pandemic.
Trump, who opinion polls show is trailing presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, said on Thursday he was blocking Democrats' effort to include funds for the Postal Service in a new economic relief bill, in a bid to stop universal mail-in voting.
Trump has railed against mail-in ballots as a possible source of fraud, although millions of Americans have cast absentee ballots by mail for years without such problems.
Speaking on a podcast with David Plouffe, who managed his winning 2008 presidential campaign, Obama said Republicans have actively discouraged voter turnout before but that Trump's efforts to "actively kneecap the Postal Service" were unprecedented, saying "What we've seen in a way that is unique to modern political history is a president who is explicit in trying to discourage people from voting."
Later on Friday, a congressional aide said the U.S. Postal Service's internal watchdog is investigating cost cutting that has slowed delivery and alarmed lawmakers ahead of the election when up to half of American voters could cast ballots by mail.
The inspector general will also look at possible conflicts of interest involving new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, who has donated $2.7 million to Trump and his fellow Republicans.