(CNN)President Donald Trump met with United States Postmaster General Louis DeJoy at the White House last week amid his ongoing attacks on mail-in voting and ahead of DeJoy’s meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer.
“It was a congratulatory meeting,” White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere told CNN. DeJoy, a longtime ally and prolific Trump fundraiser, took the post office’s top role on June 15 amid a time of incredible strain at the US Postal Service. The agency is facing funding shortages and DeJoy has already faced bipartisan criticism for implementing disruptive changes in the role, including eliminating overtime for many workers. The meeting took place on August 3, Deere said. DeJoy met with Pelosi and Schumer on August 5. Asked days later, August 9, in New Jersey about the Post Office’s issues, Trump said he “didn’t speak” to DeJoy and lauded him as “a very good businessman.” Read More”Well, I didn’t speak to the Postmaster General of the Post Office. I know this: He’s a very good businessman. He’s very successful. And I know he wants to make the Post Office at least somewhat lose a lot less money than — they’ve lost so much money over the decade. Nobody has ever — nothing loses money like the Post Office. And he wants to make it successful,” Trump told reporters at his Bedminster club, adding, “Let’s see what he can do.”The Washington Post first reported the meeting between the President and DeJoy. DeJoy acknowledged to USPS employees this week that recent procedural changes have had “unintended consequences,” but described them as necessary.”Unfortunately, this transformative initiative has had unintended consequences that impacted our overall service levels,” DeJoy wrote in a memo sent this week and obtained by CNN.News of the meeting comes as Pennsylvania officials said Thursday that they are willing to count mail-in ballots up to three days after the November general election, provided they are mailed by November 3, a significant change in a key swing state. The change was made after the US Postal Service told the state in a letter that it could not guarantee the timely delivery of ballots in the general election under the current state deadlines for requesting and returning ballots. And it comes as the President has explicitly admitted he is blocking postal service funding to stop mail-in votes and spreading lies about mail-in voting. “They (Democrats) want $25 billion — billion — for the Post Office … If we don’t make a deal, that means they don’t get the money — that means they can’t have universal mail-in voting,” he said during a Thursday appearance on Fox Business. Trump resorts to fearmongering in rambling media appearancesPressed later in the day in the briefing room, he said, “Sure,” he would sign a stimulus that has funding for the post office.Trump is actively trying to preemptively discredit the election results with his false claims about widespread fraud.”If it’s not going to be an honest and fair election, people really need to think long and hard about it,” he told reporters at Thursday’s briefing.DeJoy is scheduled to appear at a hearing in front of the House Oversight Committee on September 17.