Well, there it is.
If you doubted whether Donald Trump was serious about wielding the influence of his office to exact revenge on Jeff Bezos for negative coverage in the Washington Post, you can put those doubts to bed because according to that same Washington Post, he personally tried to pressure the U.S. Postmaster General to double the rate the Postal Service charges Amazon.com.
And yes, I am fucking serious. To wit, from an article out Friday afternoon:
President Trump has personally pushed U.S. Postmaster General Megan Brennan to double the rate the Postal Service charges Amazon.com and other firms to ship packages, according to three people familiar with their conversations, a dramatic move that probably would cost these companies billions of dollars.
Brennan has so far resisted Trump’s demand, explaining in multiple conversations occurring this year and last that these arrangements are bound by contracts and must be reviewed by a regulatory commission, the three people said. She has told the president that the Amazon relationship is beneficial for the Postal Service and gave him a set of slides that showed the variety of companies, in addition to Amazon, that also partner for deliveries.
Despite these presentations, Trump has continued to level criticism at Amazon. And last month, his critiques culminated in the signing of an executive order mandating a government review of the financially strapped Postal Service that could lead to major changes in the way it charges Amazon and others for package delivery.
Obviously, that has an unnervingly autocratic feel to it and it just further underscores the notion that Trump views the organs of the U.S. government not as institutions that are in place to protect and serve the American people, but rather as weapons to be wielded against his political foes (real or imagined).
He hasn’t tweeted about Amazon since last month, but you’re reminded that he materially impacted the shares in early April with a series of truly egregious accusations that prompted fears of imminent government action against the company, forcing Steve Mnuchin (and Sarah Huckabee Sanders) to try and explain exactly what the hell was going on.
Just prior to that, he contributed to the late-March tech selloff, accusing Bezos of running a “scam” and demanding that WaPo register as a lobbyist.
On Friday, shares are taking this in stride, but this is just another reminder (in addition to the Google 60 Minutes news), that tech is vulnerable to regulatory concerns, even when said regulation would be entirely dictatorial in nature.
Oh, and never forget, the most hilarious thing about this is that if you look back at 5+ years of Trump’s Amazon tweets, you’ll discover that he’s actually a big Bezos fan — as long as Bezos is selling Trump’s book, which is “a great gift idea that’s easy to order on Amazon”:
So basically, if you’re looking for a used copy of “Time To Get Tough,” then by all means go and buy one on Amazon. Other than that, Trump thinks “fuck Amazon” is way to go.