Washington Post owner and Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos said Wednesday afternoon that angry hotelier Donald Trump‘s hostility toward the newspaper and the online-commerce giant are “not an appropriate way for a presidential candidate to behave.”
Bezos made the comments about the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee during a conversation with Post Executive Editor Marty Baron at the paper’s “Transformers” event. Trump, who is generally antagonistic toward the reporters who cover him, has at times been especially venomous toward the Post, most recently last week, when he suggested that, if elected, he would use the Justice Department’s antitrust division to investigate Amazon’s relationship with the Post.
“…[He’s] got a huge antitrust problem because he’s controlling so much,” Trump told Fox News’s Sean Hannity. “Amazon is controlling so much of what [the Post is] doing. And what they’ve done is he bought this paper for practically nothing. And he’s using that as a tool for political power against me and against other people. And I’ll tell you what, we can’t let him get away with it.”
The Hannity segment was not the first time Trump has conflated Bezos’s role as chairman and chief executive of Amazon, a publicly traded company, with his ownership of the Washington Post, which he purchased as a private investment in August 2013. Last December, Trump raged in a string of tweets that Bezos uses the Post’s financial losses as a tax deduction to cover up losses at Amazon, which despite rarely posting profits since its founding, ranks as one of the most valuable companies in the world.
Trump, in that interview with Hannity, was especially edgy about a book about his life and candidacy that a team of two dozen Post reporters will be publishing in August. In speaking with Baron, Bezos defended the paper’s investigations of his fellow billionaire. “It’s critical we are able to carefully examine our leaders,” Bezos said.
The conversation between Bezos and Baron soon shifted away from Trump and onto Blue Origin, a spacecraft company owned by Bezos, who has reportedly said that the “future of mankind is not on this planet.” But in talking about space exploration and possible colonization—like a human settlement on Mars—Bezos showed a Trumpian preference for the superlative.
“Earth is the by far the best planet in the solar system,” he said. “It’s not even close.”