(NBC News) – Former President Barack Obama, in an interview released Friday, slammed President Donald Trump for trying to “actively kneecap the Postal Service” to affect mail-in voting in the 2020 election and urged lawmakers and citizens to take actions to “protect the integrity” of the election.
Obama, speaking on the podcast of his former campaign manager David Plouffe, was responding to recent comments by Trump, who said earlier this week that holding up emergency funds for the U.S. Postal Service would ensure that the post office would be unable to “take all of these millions and millions of ballots.”
Obama, responding to those remarks, accused Republicans of having tried for years “to discourage people’s votes from counting in all kinds of ways,” like voter identification laws and gerrymandering, but said Trump’s threats were “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.’ That’s sort of unheard of, right?” Obama said. “And we also have not had an election in the midst of a pandemic that is still deadly and killing a lot of people.”
“So in that circumstance, the thing I’m most worried about is … how do we protect the integrity of the election process? How do we make sure that people’s votes are counted? How do we police and monitor how state officials are setting up polling places and ensuring that every vote is counted?” he continued.
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