By any fair measure, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy finds himself in hot water. The U.S. Postal Service was already facing challenges, but just a couple of months into the job, the Republican donor began implementing "reforms" that are slowing mail service -- just in time for voters to rely on the USPS in the upcoming election.
Many members of Congress want DeJoy to resign. Some want him to face an FBI investigation. Capitol Hill was supposed to be quiet between now and Labor Day, but given the national uproar, DeJoy is scheduled to appear before House and Senate committees over the next six days -- and the line of questioning was unlikely to be pleasant.
It was against this backdrop that the postmaster general today signaled an unexpected retreat.
The U.S. Postal Service will suspend any policy or operational changes until after the November presidential elections, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said Tuesday.... DeJoy said the hours of post offices would not change, mail processing equipment and blue mail boxes would not be removed, all mail processing facilities would remain open and the Postal Service would again allow overtime to be "approved as needed."
In a written statement, DeJoy said he's suspending operational changes until after the election in order to "avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail."
If the postmaster general's statement is accurate -- and I suppose at this point, it's difficult to take any Trump administration declaration at face value -- it means USPS cost-cutting initiatives, including delayed delivery services, will be delayed until after Nov. 3.
So, is this a victory? The answer appears to be yes, though there are some lingering doubts.
At this point, for example, it's not altogether clear whether the announcement relates to changes that have already been made.
What's more, let's also not forget that a series of states, led by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) and Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson (D), announced plans to challenge DeJoy's "reforms" in federal court.
Asked today about DeJoy's apparent retreat, the state attorneys general laughed and said they intend to move forward with their litigation.
"I'll believe it when I see it," Shapiro said. "Hopefully the American people can breathe a sigh of relief, but I will not let my foot off the gas so long as the postal officials continue to violate the law through their procedural steps."