A Democratic U.S. congressman from Oregon has posted a video online of himself “chained” to a mailbox in an apparent display of defiance against the Trump administration’s proposed changes to the United States Postal Service.
What are the details?
Rep. Peter DeFazio has been on a social media tirade in recent days, claiming that President Donald Trump “is intentionally trying to destroy the United States Postal Service (USPS) to steal the election,” and insisting to his followers that “we can’t let it stand!”
On Tuesday, the Oregon Democrat posted a video to his Twitter feed showing a sparkling-new chain loosely draped over his shoulder and wrapped around a public mail box, while he declares, “They’re not gettin’ this one!”
The message accompanying the post read, “They’re trying to tear apart our Postal Service piece by piece. But Peter DeFazio is defending our right to vote (and every mailbox in America).”
The fact that DeFazio is clearly not chained to the mailbox indicates his video is part of a political stunt, but it also serves as evidence of the hysteria going on by some Democrats about proposed changes to the postal service.
The USPS has acknowledged it is experiencing a “staggering loss of mail volume” since COVID-19 hit. In the meantime, President Trump has condemned the widespread utilization of mail-in voting for the November general election, while his administration has proposed cost-saving measures for the postal service.
Some prominent Democrats have painted the changes as an attempt by the president to suppress voting, with former Democratic Vice President Al Gore even saying that “by tampering with the postal service, [Trump] is in effect putting his knee on the neck of American democracy and trying to make it impossible for people to vote by mail.”
The comment was interpreted by many to be a reference to the death of George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck in late May.
Before Gore’s remarks, Hollywood actress Jamie Lee Curtis suggested there was a “conspiracy” to steal the election when she saw a mail truck on the bed of a red tow truck and the driver purportedly had on “a red cap with white letters.”
But Trump-appointed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy attempted to put minds at ease hours before Rep. DeFazio’s display was posted on Tuesday, announcing in a statement that the planned operational changes will be put on hold:
I came to the Postal Service to make changes to secure the success of this organization and its long-term sustainability. I believe significant reforms are essential to that objective, and work toward those reforms will commence after the election. In the meantime, there are some longstanding operational initiatives — efforts that predate my arrival at the Postal Service — that have been raised as areas of concern as the nation prepares to hold an election in the midst of a devastating pandemic. To avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail, I am suspending these initiatives until after the election is concluded.
DeJoy is scheduled to testify before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Friday and the Democrat-led House Oversight Committee on Monday.