“President Trump is on the warpath against Amazon.com,” said former lawmaker Jason Chaffetz, who served as guest host on Tuesday night’s “The Ingraham Angle.”
“This seems to be a personal feud, to put it lightly, between the president and Jeff Bezos,” Chaffetz said on the Fox News show.
On Tuesday morning, the president took to Twitter to say that Amazon’s deal with the United States Postal Service (USPS) is not good for the American people — and that he intends to take action to fix it.
“Clearly, the president is irked at the unfair coverage that he gets from The Washington Post” — which is, of course, owned by Jeff Bezos — as trial attorney Harmeet Dhillon, California committeewoman for the Republican National Committee, noted on “The Ingraham Angle.”
Dhillon also said the USPS rates and allocations for its package delivery services have remained unchanged since 2007. In addition, Trump’s four nominees for the postal regulatory commission are being held up in the Senate; if those nominees were placed, a number of these issues could be addressed.
Those nominees, once confirmed, could begin rightsizing the post office’s package delivery rates. In addition, they could address the substantial financial issues posed by the current arrangement, in which the USPS must prepay its pension obligations, Dhillon said.
“The post office was never created to make a profit,” countered political analyst and radio talk-show host Garland Nixon, another guest on the program. “They’ve always been subsidized by the government so that businesses and American citizens can have their mail delivered at a subsidized and reasonable price.”
“This is a personal issue with the president. He is upset at The Washington Post, so he’s going after Amazon,” Nixon concluded.
I am right about Amazon costing the United States Post Office massive amounts of money for being their Delivery Boy. Amazon should pay these costs (plus) and not have them bourne by the American Taxpayer. Many billions of dollars. P.O. leaders don’t have a clue (or do they?)!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 3, 2018
The Tuesday morning tweet by the president was one of a recent series of 240-characters-or-fewer missives he’s posted on social media about the Amazon issue.
On Monday, he warned it was foolish to believe those saying the USPS benefits from the existing relationship with Amazon, emphasizing that the USPS is losing “a fortune.” Further, he said the arrangement was going to change, and that retailers paying full taxes are facing nationwide store closures, and that brick-and-mortar retailers weren’t operating on a level playing field compared to Amazon.
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. Also, our fully tax paying retailers are closing stores all over the country…not a level playing field!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 2, 2018
Just a few days before that, on March 31, President Trump offered some detail about the Amazon/USPS-related losses in a two-part tweet.
He said the USPS loses an average of $1.50 per package on Amazon deliveries. Further, he called the Amazon shipping arrangement with the USPS a “scam,” and called for the e-commerce behemoth to pay all costs.
While we are on the subject, it is reported that the U.S. Post Office will lose $1.50 on average for each package it delivers for Amazon. That amounts to Billions of Dollars. The Failing N.Y. Times reports that “the size of the company’s lobbying staff has ballooned,” and that…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 31, 2018
What’s more, in this second of the two-part tweet, the president specifically mentioned the “Fake Washington Post,” calling the outlet a “lobbyist” and urging it to register as such.
It was this tweet, perhaps, that served to cement — for some — a notion that President Trump’s most recent statements about Amazon may be based not on Amazon per se, but on a vendetta of some kind he may have with its owner, Jeff Bezos.
Some theorize the president’s determination to see Amazon pay full freight on USPS packages is related to Bezos’ ownership of The Post. Bezos purchased the publication in 2013. And it is no secret The Post has not been a friend to the Trump administration, either before or after the election.
On Fox News’ “Special Report” Tuesday night, anchor Bret Baier described the situation as “unprecedented.” He was referring to the public’s ability to see a sitting president “go after one company” with tweets and statements.
Just a few hours earlier on Tuesday, another Fox News anchor, Shephard Smith, offered a competing “fact check” of his own — disputing President Trump’s recent statements, as The Hill and others reported.
Smith was reacting to statements Trump made on Tuesday to reporters at the White House, including this: “The post office is losing billions of dollars, and the taxpayers are paying for that money, because it delivers packages for Amazon at a very below cost. And that’s not fair to the United States. It’s not fair to our taxpayers. And Amazon has the money to pay the fair rate at the post office, which would be much more than they’re paying right now …”
Some theorize the president’s determination to see Amazon pay full freight on USPS packages is related to Bezos’ ownership of The Post.
Smith said the post office’s “own numbers show it makes money by delivering packages for Amazon and other companies.” He added, “A Citigroup study last year showed on average that the Postal Service was charging a $1.46 below market rates for package delivery, but our researchers point out if that discount exists, it’s not just for Amazon, it’s a bulk rate discount.”
And to drive home his point, he told correspondent John Roberts, “There is a great deal of confusion or something here regarding Amazon and the post office because none of that, none of that was true.”
Neil Bradley, executive vice president and chief policy officer for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said, “It’s inappropriate for government officials to use their position to attack an American company,” according to a Reuters report Tuesday.
Michele Blood is a Flemington, New Jersey-based freelance writer and a regular contributor to LifeZette.