(New York, NY) – An upcoming book reportedly reveals that President Trump instructed former defense secretary James Mattis to “screw Amazon” out of the chance to bid on a Pentagon contract. PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel issued the following statement:

“The president should not be in the business of calling on federal agencies and officials to act on his personal displeasure with how he is covered in the press. Urging the secretary of defense to ‘screw Amazon’ as a means of getting to Jeff Bezos – whom the president has personally and repeatedly attacked since becoming president – is an abuse of his power. Calls for the government to target Amazon are part of the president’s long-term, unconstitutional attempt to exact financial harms against Jeff Bezos and the Washington Post because he doesn’t like how he is covered by the paper. It’s part of the pattern that prompted PEN America to sue the president, and it’s why we are eager to hold him accountable in the face of repeated actions to handicap or silence news outlets for coverage that he dislikes.”  

Read more about PEN America v. Trump here.


PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.

CONTACT: Stephen Fee, Director of Communications, sfee@pen.org, +1 202 309 8892