Top Trump donor who gave more than $2 million to the GOP picked to run Postal Service

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez slams the move "before an election where millions will try to vote by mail to save their lives"

By Igor Derysh

Managing Editor

Published May 7, 2020 7:42PM (EDT)

Donald Trump | USPS (Salon/AP Photo/Evan Vucci/Lynne Sladky)
Donald Trump | USPS (Salon/AP Photo/Evan Vucci/Lynne Sladky)

A major donor to President Donald Trump's campaign and the Republican National Committee was selected as the new head of the US Postal Service on Wednesday.

Louis DeJoy, a North Carolina businessman who is heading up fundraising for the 2020 Republican National Convention, was approved by the USPS Board of Governors to become "the first postmaster general in two decades who did not rise through the agency's ranks," The Washington Post reported.

DeJoy has given more than $2 million to the Trump campaign and Republican causes since 2016, according to the report, including $1 million to the Republican National Committee and $650,000 to the Trump Victory Fund.

DeJoy's wife, Aldona Wos, has also risen through the ranks of Trumpworld. Trump nominated Wos to be ambassador to Canada earlier this year, replacing Kelly Craft, another top donor who has since been promoted to U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Wos is also the vice chair of the president's Commission on White House Fellowships. She previously served as ambassador to Estonia under former President George W. Bush.

The Postal Service announced DeJoy's selection late Wednesday night.

"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 Trump-appointed chairman of the Board of Governors, 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 previously ran New Breed Logistics, a logistics firm which has been a contractor to the USPS for more than two decades.

"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.

The Board of Governors said it made the selection after it vetted more than 50 candidates.

The move places a Trump supporter at the head of an agency which the president has criticized for years, most recently demanding they raise prices on packages from Amazon, another frequent Trump target. The president has threatened to withhold bailout funds from the Postal Service even though Congress allocated $10 billion to help the cash-strapped agency. The Postal Service is projecting a $13 billion hole in its budget by September.

"The post office — if they raised the price of a package by approximately four times, it would be a whole new ballgame," Trump groused last month. "But they don't want to raise it, because they don't want to insult Amazon. And they don't want to insult other companies, perhaps, that they like. The post office should raise the price of the packages to the companies — not to the people — to the companies. If they did that, it would be a whole different story."

DeJoy's appointment comes after outgoing Postmaster General Megan Brennan retired following complaints that the Treasury Department was "meddling" with the Postal Service. David Williams, a Democrat, resigned as vice chairman of the board last week. 

"[Williams'] main frustration is that he felt the Treasury Department was interfering in an apolitical board and an apolitical agency," a source told The Post.

Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., who chairs the House subcommittee that oversees the agency, called the move a blatant reward for a "partisan donor."

"The Postal Service is in crisis and needs real leadership and someone with knowledge of the issues," Connolly said. "This crony doesn't cut it."

Democratic election lawyer Marc Elias warned that the move could also have serious consequences for the push to implement widescale mail voting amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"Vote-By-Mail is essential to Democracy in 2020. The appointment of a Trump crony to run the Post Office is a very ominous sign," he tweeted. "We simply cannot have fair elections in 2020 without a fairly run Postal Service, period."

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also warned that the move could impact this fall's elections after Trump repeatedly pushed debunked conspiracy theories about voting by mail.

"GOP is naming a political operative with no USPS experience as the Postmaster General right before an election where millions of people will try to vote by mail to save their own lives," she wrote. "They are eroding our democracy and crushing our public institutions before our very eyes."

By Igor Derysh

Igor Derysh is Salon's managing editor. His work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Herald and Baltimore Sun.

MORE FROM Igor Derysh