Updated! A report by Axios citing five sources claims that President Donald Trump is "obsessed" with Amazon, and has discussed changing its tax treatment and bringing antitrust litigation against the e-commerce and Cloud-computing giant.
The animus supposedly stems from conversations with fellow real estate moguls who complain that Amazon is choking off shopping malls and brick-and-mortar retail.
Ironically, retailers were united in their opposition to Trump’s tariffs on Chinese imports, which they described as a hidden tax on consumers that would derail the economic recovery.
The president is no doubt also aware that Amazon founder/CEO Jeff Bezos — intermittently the world’s richest person — also owns the Washington Post, which has been relentless in its coverage of his administration.
In a tweet posted this morning, Trump erroneously accused Amazon of not paying state and local taxes (it already collects sales tax in most states and will do so in all states that collect them beginning April 1), and of placing an inordinate burden on the U.S. Postal Service (the money-losing operation has reportedly found an important new revenue stream in Amazon and its Sunday deliveries).
However, the president was arguably correct in his contention that Amazon is “putting many thousands of retailers out of business.”
Asked about the report yesterday during her daily press briefing, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said there are no announcements, policies or specific actions on the table regarding Amazon, although the president “is always looking to create a level playing field for all businesses, and this is no different.”
The Axios report sent Amazon shares tumbling 5 percent in late afternoon trading.