Obama, a guest on his former campaign manager David Plouffe’s podcast, reacted to Trump’s recent admission that he would hinder funds meant to facilitate voting by mail options amid the Coronavirus pandemic.
He alleged that Republicans have a past of trying “to discourage people’s votes from counting in all kinds of ways” but asserted that Trump’s stunt is “unique to modern history.”
“What we’ve never seen before is a president say, ‘I’m going to try to actively kneecap the Postal Service to encourage voting, and I will be explicit about the reason I’m doing it,’” Obama said on the Aug. 14 episode of “Campaign HQ with David Plouffe.” “That’s sort of unheard of, right? And we also have not had an election in the midst of a pandemic that is still deadly and killing a lot of people.”
Mail-in voting serves as a safer alternative amid the current pandemic, but Trump has pushed people to vote in person arguing that voting by mail leaves room for fraud. A recent study that counters his statement shows neither party benefits more from this option and notes election fraud cases in the United States are uncommon.
In May, the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives passed the HEROES Act which included $3.6 billion for personal protective equipment for poll workers, the protection of in-person voting, and the preparation of an influx of mail-in ballots. It also included $25 billion to the Postal Service “for revenue forgone due to Coronavirus.”
Obama applauded the congressional Democratic leaders for their efforts despite Trump’s attempt to hold up the funding, adding that he is ultimately concerned about finding ways to “protect the integrity of the election process” and “ensure that every vote is counted.”