The postmaster general now claims he’s backing off his draconian postal service cutbacks, but Nancy Pelosi was in the Bayview Tuesday morning to vow she’ll keep pushing the envelope.
The U.S. Postal Service mail slowdowns and widely noticed removal of mailboxes are a pretty transparent Trump administration attempt to sabotage vote-by-mail efforts amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. But they’ve also caused Trump some pretty bad publicity over the collateral damage of late-arriving paychecks and delayed deliveries of medicine, which have affected liberals and conservatives equally across the country. So what seemed like a left-wing pet issue when Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the House back from recess yesterday to vote on prohibiting further postal cutbacks, has quickly become very bipartisan, and Trump’s hand-picked postmaster general appears to have blinked. The New York Times reports that Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has now suspended any further changes to post office procedures (or so he says, at least), and they will not eliminate overtime for mail carriers, cut back hours at post offices, or remove any more mailboxes.
“They felt the heat,” Pelosi told the Times, amidst calls for hearings in the Republican-led Senate, and a bipartisan slate of 22 attorneys general suing the Trump administration over the delays. “And that’s what we’re trying to do, make it too hot for them to handle.”
But Pelosi brought the heat close to home too, as KPIX reports she spoke at the Bayview post office at Lane and Third Streets this morning, in an appearance you can watch below.
“It’s in the Constitution. The Constitution of the United States calls for the establishment of a postal service” Pelosi said, going on to cite both Ben Franklin and Abraham Lincoln’s work with the US Postal Service. “They’re trying to undo it. Why? Because they want to interfere with the election. But they’ve been after the post office for a while. Why? Because they want to privatize it, they don’t want to have to give workers the respect they should have.”
Other speakers at the Bayview events included letter carriers, someone who’s mailbox had been removed, and a veteran with epilepsy who depends on the postal service for medication. Bayview's supervisor Shamann Walton spoke too, though Pelosi referred to him as “Shamann Walker.”
I am here at our Post Office (at 3rd and Lane) to say thank you to Speaker Pelosi and her office for pushing the Post Office to do the right thing. The tyrant in the White House is doing what he can to harm postal workers and slow down our mail. We won’t stand for it! pic.twitter.com/7DND7zu4pV— Shamann Walton (@shamannwalton) August 18, 2020
“We have, of course, a tyrant in the White House who’s trying cheat, who’s trying to to rob us of our constitutional rights; one to vote,” Sup. Walton said. “And now he’s playing dirty tricks and trying to rob us of our constitutional right to get our mail.”
It was brought up that postmaster general DeJoy had said he would suspend the changes, but Pelosi sounded skeptical. “I don’t frankly trust the postmaster general in what he said,” she told assembled reporters. “And if he’s sincere about it, it means the bully has backed off.”
Pelosi’s rhetorical delivery has of course lost a step (she’s 80 years old), but the speeches from regular folk who are being jobbed out of their mail deliveries were brutal and effective. Frankly, this is what the Democrats ought to be doing in their prepackaged livestream convention that resumes tonight — get veterans, sick people, and the elderly out there, and let them tell their heartbreaking stories about how slow mail is disrupting the hell out of their lives and health. These could really improve that honestly pretty crappy first hour of the convention broadcast, which last night, felt pretty mailed-in.
Image: Shamann Walton via Twitter