While most Americans were expressing doubt and anger about Facebook in March 2017, Donald Trump focused his rage on another giant tech company: Amazon. Actually, it wasn’t the first time Trump singled out America’s top online retailer — or Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
Trump’s hostility dates back to at least 2015, when he started tweeting about Amazon and Bezos. That was a few months after Trump launched his campaign for president and The Washington Post — the influential newspaper Bezos bought in 2013 — began covering him.
Depending on the time and his particular mood, Trump has problems with how Amazon pays its taxes, the way it hurts mom-and-pop stores, and his treatment by the Post. But even though many factors are in play here, there’s probably only one real reason Trump hates Bezos (page 8).
8. It’s not Amazon’s success.
Trump loves success. In fact, it’s one of the few things we know he actually cares about. So when he tweets angrily about Amazon exploiting the system to make more money, it sounds odd coming from the author of The Art of the Deal.
Finding the hidden angle was a big key to Trump’s success over the years.
Next: Even after his nasty tweets, Trump invited Bezos to business leader events at the White House.
7. The business community respects Bezos.
Despite the many hostile tweets Trump’s sent Bezos’s way in recent years, the Amazon founder still got invited to events when Trump was president-elect (December 2016) and later at the White House (June 2017). Bezos attended both meetings.
Since the business community respects Bezos so much, it would have been strange if Trump didn’t have him there. It’s possible he may resent Bezos’s high standing among his peers.
Next: We all know Trump holds a grudge.
6. Bezos burned Trump on Twitter once.
In a look at Trump’s tweets about Bezos (through summer 2017), Newsweek chronicled a period in late 2015, when Trump got angry about a Washington Post article that mentioned him. Bezos replied with a picture of his space rocket and a pitch to put Trump on it.
The hashtag for Bezos’s tweet was #SendDonaldtoSpace. That probably made Trump quite mad.
Next: Opposites don’t always attract.
5. They have opposite personalities.
The average American doesn’t know what Jeff Bezos sounds like, and that’s because he goes about his business quietly. He never feels the need to scream and publicly intimidate opponents. (He appears to outsmart and out-maneuver them, instead.)
By contrast, Trump can’t make a speech without congratulating himself and putting down past or present opponents. Sometimes, opposites don’t attract, and that’s surely the case here.
Next: Maybe Trump is really worried about tax revenue?
4. It’s got nothing to do with taxes.
Have you ever seen Trump’s tax returns? Of course not: No one in America (outside of his accountant) has. So when Trump tweets about Amazon not paying its fair share, most people will have to laugh.
Anyway, if Trump were concerned about tax revenue, he probably should’t have reduced the rate corporations pay by 40% across the board. Businesses will be able to keep trillions in the coming years — and do so legally.
Next: While Trump was born into wealth, Bezos climbed into the 1% from humble beginnings.
3. Bezos is a self-made billionaire.
As Virginia Mastrel pointed out in a Bloomberg column, Trump and Bezos are also opposites when it comes to their upbringing and education. It’s well-known Trump was born into a real estate fortune and was wealthy when he took his first step. His ticket to the University of Pennsylvania was assured.
On the other hand, Bezos was born to a 16-year-old mom and 18-year old deadbeat dad. He attended public schools before earning his way into Princeton. There, Bezos graduated with top honors and Phi Beta Kappa in both computer science and electrical engineering. He’s the textbook definition of an overachiever.
Next: The newspaper Bezos owns has given Trump fits in recent years.
2. Trump hates the Post, which Bezos owns.
It seems like The Washington Post breaks major news about Trump on a daily basis. While that’s nothing new for one of America’s storied newspapers (ask Richard Nixon), it’s a major headache for Trump, who doesn’t seem capable of avoiding bad news.
From the story about Trump stiffing charities to the “Access Hollywood” scandal, Russia, and the Roy Moore saga, the Post has pummeled Trump over the past few years. You can call this one “Shoot the messenger” if you like, and Bezos takes the heat as CEO.
Next: It’s all about the money.
1. Bezos is much, much richer than Trump.
There’s one obvious reason Trump hates Bezos. For an alpha male like the president, it often comes down to net worth and who’s bigger. Here’s where the two stand on the Forbes 2018 list of billionaires:
- Jeff Bezos: $112 billion (richest person on earth)
- Donald Trump: $3.1 billion (766th)
You might say there are 109 billion reasons why Trump hates the founder of Amazon and Washington Post owner. Very few of them have to do with journalism, taxes, or mom-and-pop stores.
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