The Trump Administration Blocked Post Office Plan to Send Reusable Face Masks to Every Home and People Are Pissed
With an unprecedented number of mail-in ballots expected in the 2020 election, the operations of the United States Postal Service (USPS) have never been under more scrutiny.
President Donald Trump's administration has pushed back against state leaders' efforts to expand mail-in voting eligibility, attempting to sow distrust of the 100+ year old institution of voting by mail. The appointment of Trump megadonor Louis DeJoy to Postmaster General only sparked more concern of the White House's effort.
Now, the USPS is at the center of another startling development from the administration.
According to the Washington Post, the USPS had a plan in April to distribute 650 million reusable face masks to the public, in hopes of curbing the virus that's since killed nearly 200 thousand Americans.
The plan—dubbed Project: American Strong, could have sent each American household five reusable face masks and sent a message regarding the importance of communal efforts to slow the spread of the virus. Plans and a press release were drawn that would've sent these masks to some of the areas most devastated by the virus.
But the White House scrapped the plan, because according to one administration official:
"There was concern from some in the White House Domestic Policy Council and the office of the vice president that households receiving masks might create concern or panic."
The planned press release soon circulated on Twitter.
The USPS had a plan to send 5 reusable facemarks to every household in early April. Even had a press release ready.
The White House blocked the plan.
“There was concern...that households receiving masks might create concern or panic." https://t.co/pYABjdzTCM pic.twitter.com/v4BLKRMPOc
— Don Moynihan (@donmoyn) September 17, 2020
The release states in part:
"The U.S. Postal Service today announced it will distribute 650 million reusable cotton face coverings on behalf of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to every residential delivery point in America, beginning in areas which HHS has identified as experiencing high transmission rates of [the virus] and to workers providing essential services throughout the nation during this pandemic."
People were livid that the Trump administration blocked what could've been a significant step toward slowing the spread.
*facemasks. Thanks autocorrect.
Imagine the health message it would have sent if the federal government sent every household a facemask.
Unbelievable that this simple direct form of federal help was possible, but blocked by the White House. https://t.co/pYABjdzTCM
— Don Moynihan (@donmoyn) September 17, 2020
At every turn, they screwed things up for no reason. It was early April - the stock market had already cratered. Thousands were dying every week. Of course we were concerned! Just send out the masks. https://t.co/CdgXvxJ27M
— James Surowiecki (@JamesSurowiecki) September 17, 2020
Trump knew. Trump lied. Trump called it a Dem hoax. Trump blocked sending masks. Trump killed.
He's still lying, calling it a hoax, blocking masks, and killing. I never expected anything this bad. He's worse than I feared. https://t.co/l0xP9CRqNv
— John Oberlin (@OMGno2trump) September 17, 2020
OMG. This could have saved lives and it was blocked by the Trump Administration. https://t.co/05wZVnFxgG
— Sunny Hostin (@sunny) September 17, 2020
Trump did not just rhetorically downplay the severity of #COVID19, he actively obstructed a public health response using the strongest tool we have (masks) to combat it. There should be no debate- Trump must be voted out! #BidenHarris https://t.co/xqjKQ9EDau
— BlackWomenViews Media (@blackwomenviews) September 17, 2020
And therefore there was mass preventable death. https://t.co/nSo1HDJ0bd
— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) September 17, 2020
Earlier this month, news surfaced that Trump told journalist Bob Woodward in a recorded February interview that the virus was deadlier than even the most strenuous flus, directly contradicting what Trump would tell the American public repeatedly over the next few months.
Like the given reason for blocking mask distribution, Trump said the reason he downplayed the virus to Americans was to prevent panic.
This excuse hadn't escaped people's memories.
I'm absolutely flabbergasted. This scrapped plan to send face masks to to every U.S. household was THREE MONTHS after Trump was told and ADMITTED to Bob Woodward, that coronavirus was airborne. This is completely unforgivable. https://t.co/orUCcnNsxL
— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) September 17, 2020
The same rationale Trump used with Woodward to justify lying to the American about the threat people he used with USPS to forbid equipping them to face it. https://t.co/PltQRetnc8
— southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) September 17, 2020
How many Americans would be alive if the incompetent-in-Chief @realDonaldTrump didn't thwart USPS plan to send every American household masks in April?! And we know from Woodward interviews he KNEW months earlier how contagious it was via air spread #VoteBlueToSaveAmerica https://t.co/0CpiHj0AQ8
— Jill Lava (@JillyLava) September 17, 2020