President Donald Trump’s dumb feud with Amazon—a company he almost certainly hates solely because it’s owned by billionaire Jeff Bezos, who also owns the Trump-critical Washington Post—continued on Saturday with another series of incoherent tweets.
Trump has long insisted that Amazon doesn’t pay “internet taxes,” which aren’t a thing. He’s also repeatedly claimed it doesn’t pay taxes to state and local governments, which is at best highly misleading and overlooks the more valid contention that it paid zero in federal taxes for 2017 thanks in part ($787 million!) to Trump and his fellow Republicans’ own tax law. Another bone he has to pick with Amazon, whether or not it’s effectively subsidized by the US Postal Service, is also not really based on the evidence.
On Saturday, the president made it clear he’s not letting this go and that yes, this feud is mainly motivated by Bezos’ ownership of the Post. Trump made his claim that Amazon bilks the “U.S. Post Office” for $1.50 per package, adding up to “Billions of Dollars.” This may be true in theory, but CBS notes it’s a figure you can only get to when including the service’s extensive retiree benefits rather than actual delivery costs.
The president then demanded the “Fake Washington Post” register as Bezos’ “lobbyist.” Look, no one likes it when newspapers essentially exist as a billionaire’s pet project, but this is a lazy attack even by Trump standards and will do little to pressure either Bezos or the paper. (To the extent that Post staffers have been concerned about Bezos’ management, they’re mostly about his crappy treatment of workers rather than credible allegations of pro-Amazon bias.) As the Post itself noted, Trump is probably angry that the paper recently reported on the multiple legal assaults on the Trump Organization’s financial records.
Amazon is a company that made nearly $178 billion in revenue last year, and it doesn’t need anyone’s help to defend itself from the president. In fact, given its long history of terrible labor and business practices, people shouldn’t be defending it. But in all likelihood, the longer this feud goes on the more folks will realize Trump’s vendetta with the company has nothing to do with any of that. It’s all just grumbling and bellyaching, a mostly one-sided feud between a confused and very angry rich guy and another rich guy who in all likelihood isn’t sweating all that much.