U.S. President Donald Trump has launched a broadside at Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, describing him as “Jeff Bozo” in a tweet posted late Sunday night. Referencing the ongoing coverage of Bezos’ divorce, Trump sarcastically offered his sympathy to Bezos for being taken down by a rival publication. The tweet marks the latest in a long series of Twitter attacks by Trump on Bezos, whose ownership of the Washington Post has placed him firmly in the crosshairs.
The tweet, which has gone viral in typical Trump fashion with over 18,000 retweets reads:
So sorry to hear the news about Jeff Bozo being taken down by a competitor whose reporting, I understand, is far more accurate than the reporting in his lobbyist newspaper, the Amazon Washington Post. Hopefully the paper will soon be placed in better & more responsible hands!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 14, 2019
Thus far as always, Bezos has refused to be drawn into an exchange with Trump, but the president will nonetheless feel that the news of the divorce and the reporting surrounding it, represents a significant victory against someone he considers to be a powerful political adversary. Some speculate that Trump now has an example of the Post‘s alleged “Fake News” coverage due to its restrained coverage of the details of the divorce, compared to the Enquirer‘s salacious reporting. Others believe that he considers the victory a more personal one.
Trump’s Ire With The “Amazon Washington Post”
Following its acquisition by Bezos in 2013, the famous newspaper has seen an upturn in its fortunes, boosted by its new owner’s investment. This has enabled it to hire more journalists and carry out more of the difficult and expensive journalism that is increasingly threatened by the continued downturn in print journalism’s revenues.
With Trump’s ascension to the zenith of American politics, the Washington Post and the New York Times have recorded significant subscriber growth in the course of covering controversial stories about the ongoing Mueller probe and Stormy Daniels among others. This has made both publications the subject of many a furious Twitter post about “Fake News”, with the Post, in particular, being a target of its ability to resist pressure and threats of legal action with support from its multi-billionaire owner.
Since his election in 2016, Trump has repeatedly accused Bezos of using the Post as a lobbying tool on behalf of Amazon, though no proof of this has been presented so far. He has also accused Amazon of ripping off the United States Postal Service (USPS) despite information from the USPS 2017 annual report stating that its shipping and packages business actually helps the financial picture of the Postal Service.
Is It Personal?
According to political commentator and author of The Truth About Trump Michael D’Antonio, the basis of Trump’s beef with Bezos goes beyond concerns about the Post publishing politically damaging stories. He believes that Trump may feel personally affronted or threatened by Bezos who unlike him has enjoyed a scandal-free business career and is worth as much as 30 times more than Trump.
Speaking to The Guardian in 2018, D’Antonio said:
Bezos is just ontologically the opposite of Donald Trump and that gets under Trump’s skin. What he really hates is someone who appears to be incorruptible. He reads that as being superior, haughty, holier than thou. It’s what he hates about Mueller: that Mueller is an emblem of rectitude. There’s no evidence that Bezos is anything but a tough business person.
The details about Bezos’ divorce which include an embarrassing extramarital affair with a married woman may thus have presented Trump with an opportunity to prove that Bezos’ clean-shaven public image is, in fact, a lie. Judging by the latest tweet, this was an opportunity too good for him to pass on.
Featured image from AFP.