Washington — President Trump criticized Senate Republicans for scheduling a hearing with the postmaster general just days before the Republican National Convention, complaining that they were “playing right into” the hands of congressional Democrats.
Two Senate and House committees have called hearings with Postmaster General Louis DeJoy amid recent delays in mail delivery and concerns about the Postal Service’s ability to handle mail-in voting for November’s elections.
“Why are Republicans allowing the Democrats to have ridiculous Post Office hearings on Saturday & Monday, just before and during our Convention. Let them hold them NOW (during their Convention) or after our Convention is over. Always playing right into their hands!” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter, tagging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
The president apparently confused the timing of the hearing before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which is set for Friday, not Saturday. DeJoy and Robert Duncan, the chairman of the Postal Service Board of Governors, also agreed to appear before the House Oversight and Reform Committee for a hearing on Monday.
The Republican National Convention begins on Monday and lasts through next Thursday. The main events will take place in the evening, while the hearing with the House committee will be during the day on Monday. The Democratic National Convention is occurring this week, and ends this Thursday.
DeJoy, a GOP donor who was appointed to his position in June, announced on Tuesday that he would be suspending recent operational changes that led to the delay in mail delivery. He said in a statement his initiatives would be suspended “to avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail.” Democrats have called on DeJoy to overturn the changes altogether, and are pressing forward with legislation aimed at forcing him to do so.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer sent a letter to Duncan on Wednesday “calling for the immediate release of all materials related to the selection of Louis DeJoy to be Postmaster General and for additional information regarding the role of President Trump and Secretary Mnuchin in the search and selection process.”
“Since assuming his position, Mr. DeJoy has made a series of damaging operational changes that have led to reports of dramatic delays in the delivery of mail, including paychecks, prescription drugs, and mail-in ballots. These delays — taking place during a devastating global pandemic and a national election — have only heightened the need for answers on why Mr. DeJoy was selected,” Schumer wrote.
At the request of the Democrats, the inspector general for the U.S. Postal Service launched an investigation into the recent changes made by DeJoy. Democrats also requested that the inspector general assess whether DeJoy and his wife — who “reportedly own assets worth tens of millions of dollars in Postal Service competitors and contractors,” according to a statement from Senator Elizabeth Warren’s office — have fully complied with ethics requirements.
The House is scheduled to return to Washington on Saturday to take up legislation that prohibits the Postal Service from making any changes to its operations or levels of service until the end of the pandemic. Meanwhile, 90 House Democrats signed a letter on Wednesday demanding that the USPS Board of Governors remove DeJoy from his position immediately.
Last week, the Postal Service confirmed it mailed letters to 46 states warning mail-in ballots may not be received in time to be counted, sparking criticism as states have expanded vote-by-mail because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Melissa Quinn contributed to this report.