President Trump on Monday used his Twitter account to make false and misleading attacks against The Washington Post and Amazon, the behemoth online retailer whose founder owns The Post.
The Amazon Washington Post has gone crazy against me ever since they lost the Internet Tax Case in the U.S. Supreme Court two months ago. Next up is the U.S. Post Office which they use, at a fraction of real cost, as their “delivery boy” for a BIG percentage of their packages....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 23, 2018
The president was apparently referring to a Supreme Court case decided last month that will allow state governments to compel retailers beyond their borders to collect sales tax revenue from consumers.
Amazon, the nation’s biggest online retailer, took a small hit in its stock price after the decision, even though it already collects taxes on its sales in all states. The company, whose founder and chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos owns The Post, does not collect taxes on third-party purchases. The Post and Amazon are independently operated.
It’s not clear what Trump meant by “gone crazy against me,” though he was critical in a separate tweet Monday of media coverage of his efforts to rid North Korea of nuclear weapons. The Post reported over the weekend that Trump has privately fumed about a lack of progress even as he has publicly touted his administration’s efforts.
In his first tweet on The Post and Amazon, Trump also complained that the U.S. Postal Service is “the delivery boy” for Amazon, which he said pays only “a fraction of real cost.”
Trump has previously said that Amazon costs the Postal Service billions of dollars in potential revenue, even though officials have explained to him that Amazon’s contracts with the Postal Service are profitable for the agency.
In a second tweet, Trump said that The Post “is nothing more than an expensive (the paper loses a fortune) lobbyist for Amazon.”
“Is it used as protection against antitrust claims which many feel should be brought?” he added.
....In my opinion the Washington Post is nothing more than an expensive (the paper loses a fortune) lobbyist for Amazon. Is it used as protection against antitrust claims which many feel should be brought?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 23, 2018
Trump has made the false claim about The Post serving as a lobbyist for Amazon multiple times.
Responding to a similar tweet in March, Post publisher Frederick J. Ryan Jr. said: “The Washington Post operates with complete independence in making all news and editorial decisions. We alone decide what to publish. It is preposterous and disingenuous to suggest that The Post is used to advance Jeff’s other commercial interests.”
Post editors have also rejected Trump’s accusation that The Post has supported Amazon’s interests.
“The reality is he didn’t present any evidence that we were lobbying for Amazon,” Post Executive Editor Martin Baron has said in response to a previous Trump attack. “The reason is because there is no evidence.”
Contrary to Trump’s assertion, Ryan has also said that The Post is positioned for “continued profitability.”
In an end-of-year message for 2017, Ryan cited gains in subscriptions and in advertising, which he said “position us for continued profitability and increased investment.”
It was not clear what potential antitrust claims Trump was referencing in his second tweet.
Sarah Isgur Flores, a Justice Department spokeswoman, said it is not department practice to “confirm or deny the existence of investigations or discuss potential investigations.”
A spokesman for Amazon declined a to comment on Trump’s tweets.