House Majority whip and Democratic South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn heavily criticized Donald Trump’s repeated attacks on mail-in voting ahead of the November presidential election, saying his friend, the late John Lewis, “would be so disappointed” by the President’s remarks.
“John Lewis would be so disappointed that he gave, nearly gave his life to get the vote for people of color and to watch [the] complicity of the Republicans in holding onto this kind of shenanigans is just beyond me,” Clyburn said Saturday during an interview with CNN’s Ana Cabrera.
Clyburn’s words come as Trump said this week that he opposed giving billions in funding to the United States Postal Service because he doesn’t want to see it used for mail-in voting this November. By directly linking USPS funding to mail-in voting, Trump is fueling allegations that he is trying to manipulate the postal system for political gain.
During an interview on Fox News, Trump said that if USPS does not receive the additional $25 billion funding request that Democrats included in the ongoing stimulus negotiations, then he believes the Post Office won’t be able to handle the influx of mail-in ballots in the upcoming election. The popularity of voting-by-mail has exploded during the coronavirus pandemic.
USPS Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has also come under fire for cost cutting measures amid the surge in mail-in voting that has seen a reduction in overtime availability, letter collection boxes, and mail sorting machines among other restrictive changes. Although they have repeatedly tried to reassure voters they can handle the influx of mail-in ballots, in newly released letters the USPS sent warnings to nearly every state that slowdowns in delivery could cause ballots to show up late and not be counted.
Clyburn also said that Trump is “signing a death warrant for a lot of people” by making mail-in voting harder.
“We ought not be crippling the Post Office and for the President to admit that he is doing this in order to gum up the works when it comes to the elections, he is actually signing a death warrant for a lot of people that he ought not be doing this,” the South Carolina congressman said.
When asked if he thought the upcoming election would be free and fair, Clyburn said “if it’s left up to the President it will not be.”
Trump has criticized mail-in voting for months, baselessly asserting that it will lead to voter fraud.
There is not widespread voter fraud in US elections, and nonpartisan experts say neither party automatically benefits when states expand access to mail-in voting.