As the House Democratic leadership calls members back to Washington, D.C. for an emergency vote on legislation to reverse Postmaster General Louis DeJoy's disruptive and possibly illegal policy changes, a coalition of progressive advocacy groups is planning demonstrations across the country as part of an urgent effort to remove DeJoy and "save the post office" from President Donald Trump.
"It's going to take everyone, on multiple fronts, to save our postal service and our democracy."
—Rahna Epting, MoveOn
The protests are set to take place at post offices across the nation on Saturday, August 22, the same day the House is expected to vote on Rep. Carolyn Maloney's (D-N.Y.) Delivering for America Act, which would bar any changes to USPS service standards until the end of the coronavirus pandemic.
"At 11 am (local time), we will show up at local post offices across the country to save the post office from Trump and declare that Postmaster General Louis DeJoy must resign," said the organizers of Saturday's demonstrations.
Rahna Epting, executive director of MoveOn, tweeted Sunday that "it's going to take everyone, on multiple fronts, to save our Postal Service and our democracy."
Voicing support for the demonstrations, former Office of Government Ethics director Walter Shaub said "you're either in the last days of this republic or you are going to endure the inconvenience (maybe hardship) of defending it."
"We have a narrow window to stop a wannabe dictator from sabotaging our elections," Shaub added. "Your country needs you now."
At 11 a.m. (local time), we will show up at local post offices across the country to save the post office from Trump and declare that Postmaster General Louis DeJoy must resign. https://t.co/Wol4MuOGEN pic.twitter.com/MXYZ0hR4IZ
— MoveOn (@MoveOn) August 16, 2020
The nationwide demonstrations were announced days after Trump openly admitted he is blocking emergency funding for the Postal Service in an effort to hinder mail-in voting. According to the Washington Post, the Postal Service recently warned 46 states that "it cannot guarantee all ballots cast by mail for the November election will arrive in time to be counted."
On Sunday, as Common Dreams reported, top congressional Democrats demanded that DeJoy testify next week on his "sweeping operational and organizational changes at the Postal Service" that have caused major mail backlogs across the country. DeJoy—a Trump donor with millions invested in USPS competitors—has conceded (pdf) that his changes have disrupted USPS mail service but called the delivery slowdowns "unintended consequences."
In addition to alarming postal workers who are experiencing DeJoy's changes firsthand, the postmaster general's new policies have sparked nationwide outrage as reports abound of prescription medicine delays, removal of mailboxes in several states, and abrupt cuts to post office hours.
Over the weekend, demonstrators gathered outside DeJoy's Washington, D.C. condo to protest his actions:
— Cory Gunkel (@CoryGunkel) August 15, 2020
In a statement requesting DeJoy's testimony at an August 24 hearing, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Minority Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and Maloney wrote that the postmaster general has "acted as an accomplice in the president's campaign to cheat in the election, as he launches sweeping new operational changes that degrade delivery standards and delay the mail."
"This constitutes a grave threat to the integrity of the election and to our very democracy," the lawmakers warned.
On Twitter, Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) urged the House leadership to "subpoena the postmaster general, and if he fails to appear, we should send the Sergeant at Arms to arrest him."
"It's not just ballots that are being slowed," Cooper wrote. "It's life-saving medication and checks for our veterans and our elderly. Tampering with the mail is a federal crime, and DeJoy—on Trump's orders—is tampering."