There would have been a collective gasp in our newsroom, had we all been in the same space, upon the announcement of Louis DeJoy as President Trump’s nominee for postmaster general.
As it was, the news hit two of our Slack channels, a text thread and an email, such was the gravity of it.
Our file on DeJoy is slim but dense, though as a staff we have been aware of him since the Bush administration, when he and his powerhouse wife, Dr. Aldona Wos, began throwing lavish fundraisers in their Irving Park home for the president and other Republican candidates.
Our archive on Wos, by the way, is a good bit thicker — she fundraised herself into positions as the US ambassador to Estonia (2004), North Carolina health and human services secretary (2012) and Trump’s commission on White House fellowships (2017), and is currently under consideration by the Senate, after a Trump nomination, to be the US ambassador to Canada, which seems like an easy commute compared to Estonia.
But forget Wos for a minute as we veer back to DeJoy, whose professional background is in logistics — specifically New Breed Logistics in High Point, where he was CEO when it was sold in 2014 for $615 million.
Before accepting the post, DeJoy was acting fundraiser for the 2020 Republican National Convention, still scheduled for Aug. 24 in Charlotte. So it’s safe to say his position on the US Post Office hews closely to the GOP party line, neatly summed up by the president in a conference with reporters on April 26: “The postal service is a joke.”
He said this as he announced he’d be withholding coronavirus aid from this independent agency of the federal branch, which incidentally brought in $71.1 billion in business in 2019. It’s also the cheapest and most reliable anchor of our supply chain.
Consider that UPS, FedEx and other distribution companies rely on the post office for their business models as grandma does when she wants to put a twenty in a birthday card.
It’s a big pot of money, that $71.1 billion. But imagine how big it could be if it were to be privatized? Or, even better, dissolved while the choicest cuts of the business get doled out to large distribution companies.
Consider also that the prospect of voting by mail has Republicans at a perceived disadvantage, and so they must question the integrity of the agency that would enable it.
Perhaps the most serious death knell for the USPS comes not from DeJoy’s ascension to its general, but Trump’s tweet a few hours after he made his comment to the press.
“I will never let the post office fail,” he said.
That means it’s doomed.