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3 Apr 2018

Amazon has to learn to pay its fair share or face Donald Trump's wrath

 President Donald Trump is “obsessed” with Amazon.com Inc. Chief Executive Jeff Bezos and is seeking ways to damage the company, according to a report late Monday by Vanity Fair.

That’s what one anonymous source told Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman. Another source said: “[Trump] gets obsessed with something, and now he’s obsessed with Bezos. . . Trump is like, how can I f--- with him?”

Amazon AMZN, -0.80%   has been the target of harsh tweets by Trump in recent days, and its stock slid more than 5% Monday. The president has especially railed against the tech giant for skirting state sales taxes and its deal with the U.S. Post Office, which Trump claims loses money for the USPS, although independent analysts say the Post Office makes a profit on the deal. Amazon also pays sales taxes in 45 states.

“He really wants the Post Office deal renegotiated. He thinks Amazon’s getting a huge f---ing deal on shipping,” a Republican source told Vanity Fair.

According to the Vanity Fair report, in addition to making Amazon pay more for shipping, Trump’s advisers are suggesting that he not allow Amazon Web Services to get a $10 billion Pentagon contract that’s up for bid, and encourage Republican state attorneys general to investigate the company’s business practices.

And what’s the reason for all this? Trump allies told Vanity Fair it all comes down to Bezos also owning the Washington Post, which has been critical of Trump. “Trump doesn’t like The New York Times, but he reveres it because it’s his hometown paper,” one source said. “The Washington Post, he has zero respect for.”

Another source said Trump believes that despite his denials, Bezos has influence over the Post newsroom, much like the owner of the National Enquirer: “When Bezos says he has no involvement, Trump doesn’t believe him. His experience is with the David Peckers of the world. Whether it’s right or wrong, he knows it can be done.”

Late Monday, Washington Post executive editor Martin Baron told the New York Times that Bezos had no influence over the newspaper, and Trump’s claims that the Post is Amazon’s lobbyist are “completely made up.”

“I can’t say more emphatically he’s never suggested a story to anybody here, he’s never critiqued a story, he’s never suppressed a story,” Baron said. “Frankly, in a newsroom of 800 journalists, if that had occurred, I guarantee you, you would have heard about it.”

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