President Donald Trump’s latest salvo against Amazon is just the most recent example of a “negotiating” tactic that Trump’s critics and others don’t understand, a FOX News anchor/host said in Dallas Thursday. The president had ripped the online retail giant on Twitter earlier Thursday for not paying enough taxes and taking advantage of the U.S. Postal Service, hinting that he might try to constrain the company in some way.
“Do you really think he wants to break up Amazon?” Melissa Francis said to some 500 people at a University of North Texas luncheon at the Hilton Anatole Thursday. “No. Everybody loves Amazon.” Instead, she said, Trump’s true aim was putting Amazon on notice in connection with its bid for additional “cloud services” work for the federal government.
Amazon, which already has a cloud-services contract with the CIA, is considered a leading contender for more work and Trump was signaling that “I’m not going to pay [a] crazy price,” Francis said. It’s a negotiating tactic the president has used “hundreds of times” before on issues ranging from NATO, Iran, and steel tariffs to North Korea and the border wall, she said.
And, Francis added, she doesn’t know why others don’t understand it. “He throws out a crazy and outrageous idea … and then goes to the [negotiating] table and is flexible, and negotiations begin,” Francis said. “This is a tactic that works in business. You don’t end up where you started. The real question is, does it work in politics?”
Francis, an anchor and host for the FOX Business Network and the FOX News Channel, addressed the UNT luncheon as part of the university’s Kuehne Speaker Series benefiting the school’s academic programs. During the talk she also touched on the current media landscape, calling Facebook “the largest data-mining company in the world” and likening cable-news channels CNN and FOX to warring universities or rival soccer teams.
“It’s all a business, and business needs eyeballs,” she said. “We’re like [European] football clubs. We’re both trying to get the most fans.” The problems set in when people don’t realize that, she said, advising, “Don’t take [the rivalry] off the field” once the broadcast is over. “Shake hands!”
Dallas is on the short list of cities being considered for a second headquarters for Amazon. The online behemoth is owned by billionaire Jeff Bezos, who also owns The Washington Post, which Trump has criticized for its reporting.
Disclosure: The author is a member of the Board of Advisors at UNT’s Mayborn School of Journalism.