Amazon founder Jeff Bezos pushed back on Donald Trump’s characterization of news outlets as the ‘enemy of the people’ in a Thursday appearance at which he cast the president’s rhetoric against the media as ‘dangerous’ and misguided.
‘What the president should say is, “This is right, this is good. I’m glad I am being scrutinized,’ and that would be so secure and confident,” Bezos, the owner of The Washington Post, said.
‘But it is really dangerous to demonize the media. It is dangerous to call the media lowlifes, it is dangerous to say that they are the enemy of the people,’ he said at an Economic Club of Washington forum.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos pushed back on Donald Trump’s characterization of news outlets as the ‘enemy of the people’ in a Thursday appearance at which he cast the president’s rhetoric against the media as ‘dangerous’ and misguided
WON’T BRING US DOWN: Bezos said that Amazon, which has been another frequent target of Trump’s criticisms, will survive ‘whatever regulations’ that the government introduces
Bezos said that the media – like his tech company – will ‘be fine’ and will ‘push through’ in spite of Trump’s assaults.
He said that Amazon, which has been another frequent target of Trump’s criticisms, will survive ‘whatever regulations’ that the government introduces.
‘I do defend the Post,’ Bezos explained. ‘I don’t feel the need to defend Amazon.’
The richest man alive advised the billionaire president not to react to negative headlines so viscerally and vindictively.
‘We live in a society where it’s not just the laws of the land that protect us. It’s also social norms that protect us. And every time you attack that, you’re eroding it a little bit around the edges,’ he said.
All big institutions should be inspected, including the government and large companies, he said: ‘It’s not personal.’
‘There’s no public figure who’s ever liked their headlines. It’s okay. It’s part of the process,’ Bezos said, imploring Trump to welcome scrutiny of his government.
Trump has accused Bezos of using the Washington Post to lobby on behalf of Amazon, even though the paper’s editor says the company owner has no say in editorial content.
He threatened a review of Amazon’s contract with the U.S. Postal Service last spring, but nothing so far has come of the dispute that escalated when Trump claimed the company was bankrupting the government’s package delivery service.
‘Only fools, or worse, are saying that our money losing Post Office makes money with Amazon. THEY LOSE A FORTUNE, and this will be changed,’ Trump tweeted in April. ‘Also, our fully tax paying retailers are closing stores all over the country…not a level playing field!’
Trump noted that Amazon would lose billions if the postal service raised its parcel rates.
‘This Post Office scam must stop,’ he sniped. ‘Amazon must pay real costs (and taxes) now!’
A source told the news website Axios that Trump was ‘obsessed with Amazon’ and was looking for ways to ‘go after’ it just as the president decided to rage against the company and drive its stock down. He has moved on, for the time, to other issues such as the mid-terms and the investigation into Russian election meddling led by Robert Mueller.
Bezos brushed off the earlier criticism in an on-stage interview in Trump’s frontyard on Thursday.
‘We are so inventive that whatever regulations are promulgated, however it works, that will not stop us from serving customers,’ he said at the event that was held blocks away from the White House.
The appearance in Washington fueled speculation that Amazon could choose one of three sites in the D.C. area for its second headquarters. Amazon has narrowed its options down to 20 locations.
Bezos would only say that a decision would be made by the end of the year, according to CNN.
He was also tight-lipped about his private discussions with the president, whom he’s met with twice since Trump won the 2016 election in New York and Washington.
‘I’ll keep my conversations with the president to myself,’ he said. ‘But, yes, I’ve had a couple of conversations with him.’