A day after saying he would not sign off on extra money for the U.S. Postal Service to deal with an expected increase in voting by mail, President Donald Trump told reporters he would be open to the idea - but only if Democrats fully accepted a $1 trillion Coronavirus relief plan from the White House.
At a White House news conference on Friday afternoon, the President was asked if he would agree to about $30 billion in funding for the Postal Service.
"Sure, if they give us what we want," the President said, as he accused Democrats of standing in the way of a deal on extra relief aid.
Democrats did not immediately react, as they basically accused the President of creating delivery delays inside the Postal Service in hopes of damaging expanded voting by mail in November.
“Not sure why Democrats need to negotiate with a hostage taker,” said veteran Democratic strategist Jim Manley, as Democrats in Congress raised questions about reports from around the nation about changes being made at postal facilities.
The President's offer came as the Postal Service was telling state elections officials around the nation that they should warn voters about possible problems with the mail - and voting - in November.
"Even if a voter receives a ballot before Election Day, there is a significant risk that the voter will not have sufficient time to complete and mail the completed ballot back to election officials in time for it to arrive by the state's return deadline," the Postal Service told the Secretary of State of Michigan in a letter.
Similar letters were sent to Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and other key states - all giving the same warning - that voters must be advised to return their ballots much earlier than Election Day.
In Michigan, the USPS letter suggested mailing absentee ballots back no later than October 27.
Voting activists have taken it a step further, ready to urge Americans to bypass the Postal Service altogether when it comes to returning a completed vote-by-mail or absentee-by-mail ballot.
In Arizona, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs asked her state’s Attorney General to investigate postal delays which have cropped up in recent weeks since the installation of a new Postmaster General by the President, suggesting it could be a crime if that resulted in voters not being able to cast a ballot in November.