Barack Obama on Friday slammed the Trump administration for caring more about “suppressing the vote than suppressing a virus,” as he decried recent moves to starve the United States Postal Service ahead of a presidential election in which millions are expected to vote by mail.
Obama, who generally avoids wading into political battles in his post-presidency but has been vocal about voter suppression efforts in recent weeks, made the comments in a series of tweets on Friday morning.
“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,” the former president tweeted.
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
Trump said on Thursday that without the emergency postal service funding he is blocking, a largely mail-in voting election would not be possible.
“Those are just two items,” he said of the funding provisions the Democrats are seeking. “But if they don’t get those two items, that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting because they’re not equipped to have it.”
Obama, in his tweets, urged those looking to vote by mail to do so as early as possible.
“The more votes in early, the less likely you’re going to see a last minute crunch, both at polling places and in states where mail-in ballots are permitted. Then tell everyone you know,” he wrote.
It’s not the first time in recent weeks Obama has denounced efforts to tamp down voter turnout. During the funeral of civil rights icon John Lewis, who was a driving force behind the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Obama gave an impassioned eulogy in which he urged those in power to honor Lewis by enacting voting rights reforms.
“You want to honor John? Let’s honor him by revitalizing the law that he was willing to die for. And by the way, naming it the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, that is a fine tribute. But John wouldn’t want us to stop there, trying to get back to where we already were. Once we pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, we should keep marching to make it even better,” Obama said.
As the 2020 campaign heats up, the former president is speaking out more frequently. Obama also appeared on a podcast hosted by his former campaign manager, David Plouffe, where he discussed the 2020 presidential campaign and former vice president Joe Biden’s selection of Senator Kamala Harris to be his running mate. And he is scheduled to speak at next week’s largely virtual Democratic National Convention.