Trump roughing up public confidence

The Post, with offended dignity and dignified offense, corrects Trump’s flailing claims about Amazon and the Post and the Post Office.

The president also incorrectly conflated Amazon with The Post and made clear that his attacks on the retailer were inspired by his disdain for the newspaper’s coverage. He labeled the newspaper “the Fake Washington Post” and demanded it register as a lobbyist for Amazon. The Post operates independently of Amazon, though the news organization is personally owned by Jeffrey P. Bezos, the founder and chief executive of Amazon.

So there, Mister President, Sir.

It got in an excellent covert dig though.

In Trump’s first of two Amazon tweets, sent at 8:45 a.m., he wrote: “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…”

The president continued with a second tweet sent seven minutes later: “…does not include the Fake Washington Post, which is used as a ‘lobbyist’ and should so REGISTER. If the P.O. ‘increased its parcel rates, Amazon’s shipping costs would rise by $2.6 Billion.’ This Post Office scam must stop. Amazon must pay real costs (and taxes) now!”

Geddit? It took him seven minutes to compose that one tweet. Seven minutes.

Trump is typically motivated to lash out at Amazon because of The Post’s coverage of him, officials have said. One person who has discussed the matter repeatedly with the president explained that a negative story in The Post is almost always the catalyst for one of his Amazon rants.

Or to put it less indirectly, he’s abusing his power.

The Post on Friday afternoon published online an exhaustive account of the Trump Organization’s finances “under unprecedented assault” because of three different legal inquiries: Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation; the $130,000 payment to secure the silence of adult-film actress Stormy Daniels after her alleged sexual encounter with Trump; and lawsuits alleging that Trump is improperly accepting gifts, or “emoluments,” from foreign or state governments through his businesses.

Oh I missed that one; will have to read it.

Beyond Trump’s use of his bully pulpit to single out Amazon, the White House has indicated that there are no plans to take action against the behemoth.

Lindsay Walters, a White House spokeswoman, told reporters traveling aboard Air Force One on Thursday, “The president has expressed his concerns with Amazon. We have no actions at this time.”

But White House officials have struggled to back up Trump’s theories about the retailer. Asked why Trump believes Amazon is hurting the Postal Service when experts say it ships so many packages it helps keep the Postal Service in business, Walters offered no explanation.

Still, Trump’s attacks, irrespective of their factual accuracy, could impact damage public confidence in the company. After Axios reported Wednesday that Trump was “obsessed” with Amazon, shares fell more than 4 percent. They continued their tumble on Thursday, when Trump tweeted, falling more than 3.8 percent in morning trading.

Textbook abuse of power.

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