Tuesday, July 11, 2023

the last book I ever read (The Divider: Trump in the White House, 2017-2021, excerpt seven)

from The Divider: Trump in the White House, 2017-2021 by Peter Baker and Susan Glasser:

Another weapon Trump thought he had was the United States Postal Service, which delivered many of Amazon’s packages. Trump would often complain that Amazon was getting preferential postal rates, when in fact it was the sheer and growing volume of Amazon’s business that was keeping the Postal Service afloat. He also got it in his head that Amazon did not pay state sales taxes and should be forced to.

Gary Cohn, Trump’s chief economic adviser, was on the receiving end of this particular tantrum repeatedly. “It’s total bullshit,” Cohn told an associate. “Amazon may actually be saving the Postal Service, not killing it,” Cohn explained. Cohn had little doubt about Trump’s real motivation. “He’s just mad at Bezos for owning The Washington Post,” he told the associate.

But Cohn could not shake Trump of his Amazon obsession. After leaving the White House, Cohn estimated that he probably had that same conversation with the president maybe thirty times. Cohn eventually had a PowerPoint created showing that Amazon did pay state sales taxes. Trump never actually looked at it, so Cohn just kept bringing it back every time the issue came up.

“Sir, Amazon pays taxes in forty-five states,” Cohn told him at one point.

“What about the other five?” Trump demanded.

“They don’t have a sales tax,” Cohn said.

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