Joe Biden, Taylor Swift, members of Congress, and corporate media are embracing a bizarre conspiracy theory that President Donald Trump is having U.S. Postal Service mailboxes removed in an effort to obstruct mail-in voting in the upcoming presidential election. This hoax spread after pictures of local USPS boxes being removed went viral on social media.
This is really happening. Wow. pic.twitter.com/kLqZb5Srii
— The Blank Check Kid (@BleachDaiquiri) August 14, 2020
“They’re going around literally with tractor trailers picking up mailboxes,” Biden said at a virtual fundraiser, according to reporter Holly Otterbein. “You oughta go online and check out what they’re doing in Oregon. I mean, it’s bizarre!”
According to an investigation by KATU, the White House has had nothing to do with the removal. The local USPS is simply replacing old boxes with new ones.
Postal Service spokesman Steve Doherty told Boston.com that removing the boxes is standard procedure when they become rusted, require paint, get vandalized, or simply need to be replaced. “These trucks are on the street daily,” Doherty said of the flatbeds seen hauling the mailboxes. “They’re part of our field maintenance fleet.”
The U.S. Postal Service has also been long mismanaged. Government reports during both Republican and Democrat presidential administrations have shown the USPS, which is supposed to be self-funded instead of receiving bailouts from Congress, has been overspending for years, largely on its oversized pensions. It has for years avoided dealing with its well-known financial problems.
This reality didn’t stop celebrities, politicians, and media figures from jumping aboard this latest anti-Trump conspiracy train. Former President Barack Obama took the opportunity to swipe at the current administration, not only for the USPS’s long history of mismanagement that persisted during Obama’s tenure, but also for Trump’s handling of the Wuhan virus.
Everyone depends on the USPS. Seniors for their Social Security, veterans for their prescriptions, small businesses trying to keep their doors open. They can't be collateral damage for an administration more concerned with suppressing the vote than suppressing a virus.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) August 14, 2020
Taylor Swift, a once-apolitical artist who recently dove hard into partisanship and the culture war, went so far as to call the box removal a “calculated dismantling of USPS.”
“He’s chosen to blatantly cheat and put millions of Americans’ lives at risk in an effort to hold on to power,” Swift tweeted.
Trump’s calculated dismantling of USPS proves one thing clearly: He is WELL AWARE that we do not want him as our president. He’s chosen to blatantly cheat and put millions of Americans’ lives at risk in an effort to hold on to power.
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) August 15, 2020
Never Trumper Rick Wilson compared the “White House and Trump campaign connection to the USPS shutdown” to Watergate, saying, “This is too sweeping and organized to just be some random play.”
There is no USPS shutdown. There has been no change in USPS operations and there is nothing preventing the USPS from supporting elections via mail-in ballots. This is a crazy conspiracy that has gone mainstream among the left and media. pic.twitter.com/1cNJJLPT02
— (((AG))) (@AGHamilton29) August 15, 2020
Ana Navarro, a so-called Republican strategist, Never Trumper, and commentator for mainstream outlets ABC and CNN, also perpetuated the conspiracy. Despite being paid by supposedly impartial “news” outlets CNN and ABC, Navarro is essentially a Democrat campaign surrogate, hosting a roundtable event for Biden on the importance of “making Donald Trump a one-term president.”
She also spread this conspiracy by posting pictures of USPS moving aging mailboxes with a caption suggesting moving a handful of mailboxes is part of some White House conspiracy to corrupt the 2020 election. It should be needless to say, but Manhattan and Portand are heavily Democrat areas. So even if replacing old mailboxes were an attempt to steal the election, those cities would be among the stupidest locations to try to carry out any such scheme. The amount of votes stolen would be easily backfilled by the legitimate votes cast in these heavily blue areas.
I’ve seen 2 posts today supposedly of @USPS mailboxes being removed. One in Manhattan, one in Portland. Given rhetoric coming out of WH, and Trump lackey Postmaster General who just decommissioned 671 mail-sorting machines, this is alarming. What in the hell is going on? pic.twitter.com/y7t76XuLKE
— Ana Navarro-Cárdenas (@ananavarro) August 14, 2020
Other media figures embraced the anti-Trump hoax as well, including New Yorker writer Jane Mayer.
Anyone thinking Trump’s assault on the postal service is a rogue move needs to understand that Mike Duncan,Trump’s Postal Service Chairman is McConnell’s guy. He’s Led Senate GOP’s $100 Million Super PAC https://t.co/UMwgfKuoRx
— Jane Mayer (@JaneMayerNYer) August 15, 2020
I’m going to continue holding Postmaster DeJoy accountable until he reinstates the reportedly dozens of @USPS mail collection boxes that were removed across Montana.
— Senator Jon Tester (@SenatorTester) August 14, 2020
There are legitimate concerns about the reliability of conducting elections by mail, as Rep. Dan Crenshaw points out below. These real concerns are being exploited and conflated by Democrats, however, with the longstanding issue of USPS financial mismanagement, which is not Trump’s fault and is separate from concerns over conducting elections remotely.
The real concern is largely not that the USPS can’t handle mail, it’s that routing elections through mail expands the possibilities for election corruption by making ballots more available to people who are not U.S. Postal Service workers.
Joe thinks you can’t tell the difference between absentee voting and universal mail-in voting.
Absentee voting is safe and secure. If you requested an absentee ballot, you should use it.
Universal mail-in voting is vulnerable to abuse and mistakes.
Here are examples. THREAD: https://t.co/gnXTGYHNxr
— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) August 15, 2020
In many states, universal mail-in ballots are sent to ALL people on voter rolls. If rolls are inaccurate, and they almost always are, ballots are sent to people and places they shouldn’t be. Anyone can end up returning the ballot, and it’s impossible to guarantee integrity.
— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) August 15, 2020
To read more debunking of the multiplying fanatical claims that it’s Trump who wants to use USPS to rig the 2020 election, rather than the Democrats making actual election tampering far more likely by pushing for mail-in voting, check out this article.