WASHINGTON — When President Donald Trump called Amazon founder Jeff Bezos “Jeff Bozo” in a Sunday evening tweet, it quickly triggered more amazement at the extent to which he’s changed the nature of presidential discourse. And not for the better.
His tweet was once again an attack on the mainstream media and the Washington Post, which is owned by Bezos under a separate arrangement unaffiliated with Amazon.
“So sorry to hear the news about Jeff Bozo being taken down by a competitor whose reporting, I understand, is far more accurate than the reporting in his lobbyist newspaper, the Amazon Washington Post. Hopefully the paper will soon be placed in better & more responsible hands!” Trump wrote.
More intriguing was his praise of the National Enquirer, which published a months-long expose of Bezos and his relationship with former Los Angeles news anchor Lauren Sanchez. The story broke soon after Bezos announced that he and his wife, MacKenzie, were separating after 25 years of marriage.
The Enquirer article was yet another example of the publication turning its tabloid spotlight on a Trump foe — a list that also includes his former attorney Michael Cohen, ex-Fox News and NBC News personality Megyn Kelly, and Hillary Clinton.
But the Enquirer’s parent company, AMI, is cooperating with federal prosecutors as they investigate payments made to Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels, two women who alleged that they had affairs with Trump. He denies their claims.
Last month, AMI admitted that it made a $150,000 payment to McDougal “to ensure that the woman did not publicize damaging allegations” about Trump in advance of the 2016 presidential election.
The non-prosecution agreement between AMI and prosecutors revealed that in August 2015, Pecker offered “to help deal with negative stories about the presidential candidate’s relationships with women by, among other things, assisting the campaign in identifying such stories so they could be purchased and their publication avoided.” In signing the agreement, AMI avoided legal liability for violation of campaign finance laws. The agreement lasts for three years or until prosecutions are final.
Trump’s continued praise for the Enquirer shows that he still views them as a friendly media outlet, even as they are still bound to cooperate with prosecutors. The Associated Press reported in August that the Enquirer kept a safe of potentially damaging Trump stories. By contrast, Trump certainly isn’t offering much praise for Cohen, who is set to testify before the House Oversight Committee on Feb. 7.