Louis DeJoy, a top Republican donor and ally of President Donald Trump, has been named the new head of the U.S. Postal Service as it weathers a barrage of criticism from the White House.
The Postal Service’s Board of Governors announced the move on Wednesday, saying DeJoy, a North Carolina businessman and head of fundraising for August’s Republican National Convention in Charlotte, would work to preserve and protect “this essential institution” in his new role.
“Louis DeJoy understands the critical public service role of the United States Postal Service, and the urgent need to strengthen it for future generations,” Robert Duncan, the chair of the board, said in a statement. “The Board appreciated Louis’ depth of knowledge on the important issues facing the Postal Service and his desire to work with all of our stakeholders on preserving and protecting this essential institution.”
DeJoy will begin his term on June 15. He will be the first postmaster general in two decades who doesn’t come from within the agency, The Washington Post, which was the first to report the news, said.
Trump has railed against the Postal Service for years, and DeJoy’s posting renews concern about the future of the USPS.
The Postal Service has been hit especially hard by the coronavirus pandemic. Officials told lawmakers this week that mail volume was down by about a third and said they predicted a $13 billion loss for the fiscal year, requesting a bailout from the government to keep running, according to The New York Times. Megan Brennan, the current postmaster general, has requested $89 billion from Congress, saying the mail service could run out of money by September.
“At a time when America needs the Postal Service more than ever, the reason we are so needed is having a devastating effect on our business,” she told the Times. “The sudden drop in mail volumes, our most profitable revenue stream, is steep and may never fully recover.”
Brennan, who in February 2015 became the first woman to lead the Postal Service, announced her retirement last year but has remained in the post until a replacement could be found.
Democrats have been urging that the agency be extended a lifeline in the next pandemic relief measure, but the White House has so far resisted. Trump has instead said the Postal Service would need to charge companies like Amazon four or five times the current rates in order to secure a loan, criticism some have said is linked to his distaste for the company and its CEO, Jeff Bezos. Bezos also owns The Washington Post, which Trump regularly derides as “fake news.”
The Treasury Department is negotiating a $10 billion line of credit with the Postal Service that was included in the coronavirus package approved in March, according to The Washington Post.
DeJoy’s family has close ties to the Trump administration and has given more than $2 million to his campaign, including $1 million to the Republican National Committee, the Post notes. His wife, Aldona Wos, is the vice chair of the Commission on White House Fellowships and was nominated by the president to be the ambassador to Canada in February. Her nomination is pending before the Senate.
DeJoy said Wednesday he would uphold the service’s “cherished role in our nation” throughout his tenure.
“Having worked closely with the Postal Service for many years, I have a great appreciation for this institution and the dedicated workers who faithfully execute its mission,” DeJoy said in a statement. “Postal workers are the heart and soul of this institution, and I will be honored to work alongside them and their unions. It will be an incredible honor to serve as Postmaster General.”
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