WASHINGTON (NYTIMES) - US President Donald Trump abruptly issued an executive order on Thursday (April 12) demanding an evaluation of the Postal Service's finances, asserting the power of his office weeks after accusing Amazon, the online retail giant, of not paying its fair share in postage.
In the executive order, issued just before 9pm, Mr Trump created a task force to examine the service's "unsustainable financial path" and directed the new group to "conduct a thorough evaluation of the operations and finances of the USPS".
The President does not mention Amazon in the order, but it is clear that he intends the group to substantiate his repeated claim that the financial arrangement between the Postal Service and Amazon, its biggest shipper of packages, is a money loser.
In December, Mr Trump railed against the service on Twitter for being "dumber and poorer" by losing billions of dollars and not "charging MUCH MORE" to Amazon and other shippers.
His Twitter attacks date back as far as 2013, when he scoffed at the agency for eliminating Saturday mail delivery ("our poor, poor Country," he wrote) and raising the cost of stamps.
Postal Service experts and even Mr Trump's own advisers have privately urged him to back off the accusations, noting that the huge number of packages shipped by Amazon is actually helping to keep the Postal Service financial solvent.
But the President has refused to believe those arguments, insisting in a tweet as recently as March 31 that "the US Post Office will lose US$1.50 (S$1.97) on average for each package it delivers for Amazon. That amounts to Billions of Dollars."