Jeff Bezos reaffirmed his desire to send Donald Trump into space today. Speaking at Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Summit this afternoon, the billionaire half-joked, “I have a rocket company, so the capability is there.” But Bezos is serious about not liking Trump.
His solution of launching The Loud Man into space was referencing a Twitter spat that he and Trump had late last year, wherein the Republican presidential candidate called Amazon a “no profit company.” Bezos, the second richest man on Earth, said that he regretted taking the remarks lightly, given the imminent possibility of Trump actually being elected. “That erodes our democracy around the edges,” Bezos said of Trump’s open disdain for political process and pending agreement to a concession speech.
As the owner of The Washington Post, Bezos was also critical of Trump’s attempts to silence the media. Perhaps referencing his own paper’s brief ban from covering Trump events he said, “to try to chill the media and sort of threaten retribution, retaliation, which is what he’s done in a number of cases, it just isn’t appropriate.”
The Trump campaign writ large, and the association of powerful people with it, drew a question from TechCrunch’s Matthew Lynley regarding Peter Thiel’s recent promise to donate $1.25 million to the campaign. “Peter Thiel is a contrarian first and foremost, and you have to remember that contrarians are usually wrong,” Bezos responded.
But after a light-hearted jab, Bezos said it was Thiel’s unconventional business bets and unconventional political leanings that make him a powerful force. (Thiel recently funded a coordinated campaign of lawsuits that bankrupted Gawker Media, the former owner of Gizmodo.) Bezos also admitted that he too would keep Thiel on the board of Facebook, if he were in Mark Zuckerberg’s shoes.
“I think that down that path of tying everything to everything lies madness,” Bezos said. “We don’t want to live in a country where you can’t associate with someone wildly different from yourself.”
As for that rocket, Blue Origins ships will not be safe for human sub-orbital flight before November 8th.