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Photo illustration by GeekWire. (Not an actual USPS employee).

President Donald Trump told reporters on Friday he wouldn’t authorize coronavirus relief funds to the U.S. Postal Service unless it raises prices for Amazon and other online merchants.

Trump said that USPS should be charging Amazon “four or five times” more than current package delivery rates at a signing ceremony for a $484 billion coronavirus relief bill.

“The Postal Service is a joke,” Trump said. “Because they’re handing out packages for Amazon and other internet companies and every time they bring a package, they lose money on it.”

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said that the Postal Service must undergo reforms as part of the criteria for the loans during the event Friday. Trump said he would “go a step further.”

“The postal workers are fantastic but this thing’s losing billions of dollars [and] has for years, because they don’t want to insult, for whatever reason, you can imagine, they don’t want to insult Amazon and these other groups,” Trump said. “If they don’t raise the price, I’m not signing anything.”

We reached out to Amazon to respond to the president’s comments and we’ll update this story if we hear back.

The larger relief bill signed Friday is on top of the $2 trillion stimulus bill Congress passed earlier this month. Lawmakers authorized the Treasury Department to lend up to $10 billion to the Postal Service, which is struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic.

Trump has long said he believes USPS is not getting a fair deal from Amazon. In 2018, he ordered?a review?of the USPS’s “expansion and pricing of the package delivery market and the USPS’s role in competitive markets,” among other things.?The executive order set up a task force to review the Postal Service’s finances and operations and report back to the president with the goal of creating conditions to “operate under a sustainable business model.”

USPS has been in financial trouble for years and the pandemic has only made it worse. But package delivery is a rare revenue generator for the Postal Service.

Though Amazon is developing its own delivery and logistics business, the company still relies on USPS for many of its last-mile deliveries.

“If they raise the price of a package like they should, four or five times, that’s what it should be, or let Amazon build their own post office, which would be an impossible thing to do,” Trump said Friday. “Because the post office is massive and serves every little piece of the country.”

Amazon is increasingly relying on its own logistics infrastructure as shipping costs continue to spike?with?growing demand, particularly from Prime members who expect speedy shipping.

Later Friday, Trump promised to help the Postal Service in a tweet.

“I will never let our Post Office fail,” he tweeted. “It has been mismanaged for years, especially since the advent of the internet and modern-day technology. The people that work there are great, and we’re going to keep them happy, healthy, and well!”

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