Trump trade adviser claims Bezos won’t meet him

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro in an interview published Wednesday accused Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos of avoiding a meeting with the Trump administration about the issue of online counterfeits, fueling the ongoing rift between the online retail giant and the White House.

Navarro said Bezos in January agreed to meet with the White House about the scourge of fake products on his platform – but so far, about a month later, the company has only offered up senior executives for a sit-down rather than the Amazon founder himself.

“The reason I want to see Jeff Bezos is because Jeff Bezos could, in the blink of an eye, put a complete halt to the counterfeiting that Amazon is facilitating,” Navarro told The Washington Post. “It’s a rare occurrence where a single individual can have an enormous impact on the issue — but so far, it’s ‘see no evil.’ ”

Navarro said he approached Bezos about a potential meeting when he ran into him at a dinner last month. He claimed Bezos said to him, “Just call [Amazon senior vice president of global corporate affairs] Jay Carney, tell him we’ll meet. We’ll get it done.”

In a statement, an Amazon spokeswoman said multiple senior Amazon executives have met with Navarro and other Trump administration officials “on multiple occasions” to discuss combatting counterfeit goods.

“We are eager to continue this collaboration and will make our executives available to meet as often as necessary to effectively address this issue,” the spokeswoman said.

The tense back-and-forth comes as the Trump administration is ramping up a pressure campaign against online retailers such as Amazon, eBay and Walmart over reducing the amount of online counterfeits, such as fake chargers or infant formula, available on their powerful platforms.

A person familiar with the encounter between Bezos and Navarro told The Hill on Wednesday that there was a “miscommunication.” The source said Bezos was under the impression that he’d encouraged Navarro to reach out to Carney to set up a sit-down between Amazon executives and Trump administration officials – but had never promised a personal meeting.