Donald Trump has accused Amazon founder Jeff Bezos of using the political influence of the Washington Post, which Bezos acquired in 2013, to evade monopoly concerns and avoid taxes.
“He’s using the Washington Post, which is peanuts. He’s using that for political purposes to save Amazon in terms of taxes and in terms of antitrust,” Trump told Fox News.
The reason for his outburst? Pesky reporters.
“Every hour we’re getting calls from reporters from the Washington Post asking ridiculous questions,” the Republican presidential frontrunner said. Washington Post Associate Editor Bob Woodward divulged Wednesday the paper had dispatched 20 reporters to cover Trump.
It’s not the first time Trump has laid into his fellow billionaire Bezos. In December, Trump directed a series of tweets at Bezos, accusing him of using the newspaper to reduce Amazon’s tax burden. (Since the Post is owned by Bezos personally, Amazon cannot in fact enjoy any writeoffs from his affiliation with the paper.)
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 7, 2015
This time around, Trump took a different tack, charging the largest newspaper in the nation’s capital serves as a propaganda arm for Amazon’s interests, particularly regarding ongoing scrutiny over tax and antitrust concerns regarding Amazon.
Trump did not point to any particular articles the Post has printed giving favor to Amazon or its interests. A cursory search of the newspaper’s website turns up dozens of news articles concerning Amazon’s avoidance of state sales taxes, its potential to set off regulators’ antitrust alarms, its substantial lobbying efforts and other topics. These stories regularly disclose the fact that Bezos controls both companies.
The paper hasn’t spared Trump, either. Earlier this week the Post ran an unflattering article detailing Trump’s history of making ribald and demeaning comments toward women. A Post story Friday alleged that in the 1980s and 1990s Trump impersonated a public-relations flack to speak highly of himself.
The Post told the Associated Press in a statement the paper “received no instructions from Jeff Bezos” though Woodward earlier in the week had relayed the fact that Bezos wanted Post reporters to “look at every part” of the lives of candidates on both sides of the race.
After Trump’s previous dustup with Bezos, the Amazon CEO showed his own flair for drama, suggesting Trump take a trip to space courtesy of Bezos’ aeronautics company, Blue Origin.
— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) December 7, 2015