Since approximately forever, Republicans have been demanding we run the United States government “like a business,” and Donald Trump has been quick to embrace that advice. So if government should be run like one of my businesses, thinks Trump, what would that look like?
Ah! It would mean skipping out on the bills! Got it!
Back in March, just as it was becoming apparent that the COVID-19 pandemic was spiraling out of control in the United States, the Trump administration mailed out glossy postcards advising Americans on what they could do to avoid the virus. The most jarring bit of it, however, was the title: “President Trump’s coronavirus guidelines for America,” it said, attempting to convey the rather ridiculous notion that Donald J. Trump had sound advice on the coronavirus pandemic that he was willing to share, when in fact it was Centers for Disease Control and Prevention experts who were advising these things. In reality, Trump was publicly discounting much of that advice, instead going off on tangents and sending the nation into a panicked rush to buy useless and/or dangerous anti-malarial pills.
In other words, the inclusion of Trump’s name and attribution on these “guidelines” from the great hatepumpkin himself was a government-funded campaign stunt.
After the postcards were released, USA Today reported that the cost for printing out and mailing “President Trump’s coronavirus guidelines” postcards was $28 million. So who paid for them to be sent?
Nobody did, USA Today now reports. The Trump administration stiffed the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), which has so far been left holding the bill.
This turns out to be an important bit of bookkeeping, because while the overall USPS budget dwarfs the $28 million outlay here, the nation’s post offices remain in genuine crisis due to congressional sabotage, Trump administration sabotage, and the pandemic itself. Putting the Postal Service on the hook for $28 million in Trump pandemic advertising is adding insult to injury.
But “add insult to injury” is the Donald Trump personal, business, and governance motto, and the man is widely reported to take glee in inflicting petty pain on those around him—a trait that he seems to be able to rapidly infect others with. The Trump administration not paying for a nationwide mail campaign they themselves ordered be sent out cannot exactly be dismissed as mere oversight, not from the crew that treats the sabotage of government agencies, and this agency in particular, as one of their most pressing Republican concerns.
So yes, the administration probably has made the explicit decision to not reimburse the Postal Service for the mailings. Why? Because they’re assholes, that’s why. Never presume mere incompetence with this crowd, not when they’re so devoted to full-on malevolence.