- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 15, 2020

President Trump on Saturday said Democrats aren’t getting money for widespread mail-in voting because they are insisting on funding for states and localities as part of coronavirus relief deliberations.

Mr. Trump has characterized the local money as a bailout for poorly managed blue states, while Democrats say states and towns across the board are suffering budget gaps from fighting the coronavirus pandemic and a dramatic loss of tax receipts.

“They want money for the universal mail-in ballot. They’re not getting it. You know why? Because of them,” Mr. Trump said. “They need money, but they’re not willing to approve the money that they need.”

“They want a trillion dollars to bail out badly run, Democrat states,” he said.

He defended U.S. Postmaster Louis DeJoy as a brilliant businessman amid complaints he ushered in changes that have harmed postal service at the worst possible time — amid a health crisis and right before an election in which some states want to make it easier to vote by mail instead of risking infection at in-person polls.

Mr. Trump said Mr. DeJoy is trying to make the post office “great again” and streamline its operations.

“Louis DeJoy is working very hard,” Mr. Trump said. “The postal office has lost billions and billions of dollars.”

He also said he is optimistic about the economic recovery, citing an uptick in used car sales and other metrics while accusing his political opponents of holding back on any comeback.

“I think the Democrats are going out of their way to do whatever they can to stop these kinds of numbers,” Mr. Trump said from his golf property in Bedminster, New Jersey.

His comments come as Congress stalemates over a new round of coronavirus relief to help small businesses that are struggling with a lack of foot traffic and millions of Americans who remain out of work.

Mr. Trump said China should have “stopped” the virus but quickly pivoted to praising the communist country’s decision to buy corn and other U.S. products under his phase-one trade deal.

“China’s been buying a lot of things. They’re doing that to keep me happy but they’re dreaming about Joe Biden,” Mr. Trump said of his November opponent.

Mr. Trump also said he wants college football to “come back,” after the Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences decided to postpone their seasons.

He again cited Trevor Lawrence, the Clemson quarterback who says he would be safer on the field than trying to duck the virus off of it.

Mr. Trump said he watched Mr. Lawrence in person last year and was impressed.

“He was faster than the backs that were guarding,” he said.

On the pandemic generally, Mr. Trump appeared to blame his own administration’s scientists, Anthony Fauci and National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield, for saying early on that Americans didn’t need to wear masks.

The president has been slow to fully embrace face coverings, however, speaking in favor of them only recently after the CDC recommended them in early April.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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