- Katherine Sabido
Amazon loses JEDI contract as a result of President Trump’s abhorrence for Jeff Bezos.
Amazon lost a $10 billion contract with the Pentagon because of President Trump’s intolerance of Jeff Bezos. Bezos owns Amazon and The Washington Post, and is constantly harassed by Trump because of the news organization’s aggressive coverage of the sitting administration.
Amazon recently took legal action against the President because of their failure to procure the Pentagon’s JEDI contract, which they claim is largely due to Trump's dislike for Bezos. The JEDI project is the Department of Defense’s (DoD) plan to develop their technological abilities through a cloud system.
Trump has proclaimed his distaste for Bezos and Amazon since the beginning of his presidential campaign in 2015. And although Amazon and The Post are two separate companies, the President often tries to present them as a single entity.
In federal court documents released in December 2019, Amazon states that the company lost the JEDI contract to Microsoft because of “improper pressure” from the President, whose ultimate goal is to “harm” Bezos.
Evidence for Amazon’s charges can be found all over the President’s personal twitter account.
A few of the President’s tweets claim that Bezos uses the newspaper to draw attention away from Amazon’s tax history.
“The #AmazonWashingtonPost, sometimes referred to as the guardian of Amazon not paying internet taxes (which they should) is FAKE NEWS!” Trump tweeted on June 28, 2017.
There is no existing internet tax. The 1998 Internet Tax Freedom Act prohibits all levels of government from implementing internet access taxes or internet-only taxes.
The President has also accused Amazon of not properly paying the United States Postal Service (USPS) for their third-party deliveries.
“I am right about Amazon costing the United States Post Office massive amounts of money
for being their Delivery Boy,” Trump tweeted on April 3, 2018. “Amazon should pay these costs (plus) and not have them bourne [sic] by the American Taxpayer. Many billions of dollars.”
USPS’ Fiscal 2017 Report states that their package delivery services actually relieved some of their financial shortcomings. Revenue from parcels, from companies like Amazon, increased $2.1 billion dollars or 11.8% during 2017, according to USPS.
He continues to release his critical statements, including accusations that Bezos uses The Post as a “lobbyist” for Amazon, in an attempt to keep the online marketplace’s taxes low. The New York Times (NYT) interviewed Martin Baron, The Post’s executive editor, for a response to the President’s stream of allegations.
Baron denied any involvement from Bezos in the paper’s writing and publishing processes.
“He’s never suggested a story to anybody here, he’s never critiqued a story, he’s never suppressed a story,” Baron said during his NYT interview.
Bezos has not responded to any of Trump’s comments on Amazon or The Washington Post.
A federal judge granted Amazon’s motion to halt the JEDI project until further order from the court on February 12, 2020.
Despite the strong case against the President’s bias, the DoD stands by their decision.
Lt. Col. Robert Carver, a Pentagon spokesperson, released a statement on behalf of the DoD and their disagreement with Amazon’s charges.
“We are disappointed in today’s ruling and believe the actions taken in this litigation have unnecessarily delayed implementing DoD’s [sic] modernization strategy,” Carver said. “We are confident in our award of the JEDI Cloud contract to Microsoft.”
Microsoft’s Frank Shaw, corporate vice president of Microsoft communications, also released a statement to the Consumer News and Business Channel (CNBC) regarding the company’s achievement. He told CNBC that they deserved the JEDI contract.
“We have confidence in the Department of Defense, and we believe the facts will show they ran a detailed, thorough and fair process,” Shaw said.
However, James Mattis, former U.S. Secretary of Defense under the Trump Administration, released a book at the end of 2019 that provides support for Amazon’s case.
In “Holding The Line: Inside Trump’s Pentagon with Secretary Mattis,” Mattis revealed that Trump planned for Amazon’s loss of the JEDI contract.
Trump directed Mattis to “screw Amazon” out of the Pentagon contract, but Mattis insisted that the winning company would be chosen through a legal and ethical process, according to Mattis’ book.
Bezos has not always had a toxic relationship with Trump. However, because The Washington Post is one of the President’s ranked “fake news” outlets, Trump uses Bezos’ other business endeavors to discredit the billionaire.
Evidence is heavily built against the President, but the verdict will be made by the federal court in the months to come.