One again Donald Trump has kindled the fires of conspiracy. The soon-to-be Republican nominee for president says Jeff Bezos, the Amazon CEO who owns The Washington Post, is using the paper to attack him and the other political enemies who would force the massive online retailer to pay more in taxes. Donald Trump told Sean Hannity in an interview Thursday that Bezos is using the Post "like a toy" and "for power so that the politicians in Washington don't tax Amazon like they should be taxed."
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has found himself with quite a few critics, and as it turns out, his campaign is keeping track of those who've slighted him.
Politico reported overnight that as Trump's team begins to take over the RNC apparatus, "some campaign aides and allies are pushing him to block lucrative party contracts from consultants who worked to keep him from winning the nomination." The article added that the "blacklist" would mostly target "operatives who worked for Never Trump groups, but also some who worked for Trump's GOP presidential rivals or their supportive super PACs."
If this were the end of Team Trump's vindictiveness, it would still be pretty striking, but this is really just the start. USA Today reported overnight:
As part of a long, rambling, barely coherent tirade, Trump added in reference to Bezos, "[H]e's got a huge antitrust problem because he's controlling so much, Amazon is controlling so much of what they're 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."
Trump didn't explicitly say he'd use the power of the federal government to target Bezos if elected, but in light of "we can't let him get away with it," it certainly sounded as if the candidate were effectively saying, "It's a nice business operation you have going; it'd be a shame if something happened to it."
To the extent that the facts matter, Matt Yglesias noted that many of the details in Trump's conspiracy theory are plainly wrong. Given Trump's other conspiracy theories, this doesn't come as much of a surprise.
But let's pause to appreciate the fact that the presumptive Republican presidential nominee went on national television to suggest he may retaliate against the owner of the Washington Post, in part because the candidate doesn't like the newspaper's coverage of him.
Yglesias' piece concluded, "In conventional times we count not just on laws but on norms to protect the country from [vindictive] misconduct. But back in mid-March we had a few incidents where Trump supporters violently attacked anti-Trump demonstrators, seemingly with Trump's encouragement and accompanied by Trump suggestions that he would pay the legal fees of the attackers. That kind of norm-defying behavior didn't stop Trump from winning the nomination (indeed, it may have helped) and so far he shows no inclination to stop."