Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump lashed out at Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos Thursday, claiming that the founder of Amazon.com was using the newspaper as a tool to influence corporate tax policy.
"Every hour we're getting calls from reporters from The Washington Post asking ridiculous questions," Trump told Fox News' Sean Hannity. "And I will tell you, this is owned as a toy by Jeff Bezos ... Amazon is getting away with murder, tax-wise. He's using The Washington Post for power so that the politicians in Washington don't tax Amazon like they should be taxed."
Trump was responding to Post Associate Editor Bob Woodward's disclosure that the newspaper has assigned 20 reporters to investigate the real estate mogul's life.
"We're going to do a book, we're doing articles about every phase of his life," Woodward told the National Association of Realtors convention Wednesday. The veteran reporter, best known for investigating the Watergate break-in that led to Richard Nixon's resignation, said he had begun investigating Trump's real estate deals in New York, which he called "more complex than the CIA."
Bezos, who bought the Post in 2013 from longtime owners the Graham family, has donated to both Democratic and Republican elected officials. According to the website OpenSecrets, Bezos and his wife gave $4,800 each to Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., in 2009. The couple also gave $2.5 million to support a 2012 referendum legalizing gay marraige in Washington state.
More recently, however, Bezos donated $2,700 this past September to Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah.
"He thinks I'll go after him for antitrust," Trump said Thursday. "Because he's got a huge antitrust problem because he's controlling so much, Amazon is controlling so much of what they are doing.
"He's using The Washington Post, which is peanuts, he's using that for political purposes to save Amazon in terms of taxes and in terms of antitrust."
Neither Bezos nor Amazon had any immediate comment in response to Trump's claims.
Woodward said Wendesday that Bezos had urged the Post to run as many stories as possible about all the presidential candidates so that voters can't say they were uninformed when they select the next president.
"He said, 'Look, the job at the Washington Post has to be tell us everything about who the eventual nominee will be in both parties,'" Woodward said. "'15-part, 16-part series, 20-part series, we want to look at every part of their lives. And we're never going to get the whole story, of course, but we can get the best attainable."