- Jim Bourg/Reuters
- President Donald Trump blasted Amazon again on Friday.
- He has been waging a yearlong war against the company.
- Now the question is whether he’ll take substantial action against the internet giant.
President Donald Trump has a pretty clear least favorite company in America: Amazon.
The president again took aim at the e-commerce giant on Friday morning, tweeting that the company was unfairly reaping the benefits of a great deal with the US Postal Service. Trump said the deal was enriching Amazon while making the USPS “dumber and poorer.”
“Why is the United States Post Office, which is losing many billions of dollars a year, while charging Amazon and others so little to deliver their packages, making Amazon richer and the Post Office dumber and poorer?” Trump tweeted. “Should be charging MUCH MORE!”
That was just the latest salvo Trump has fired at the internet behemoth.
In August, he accused the company of doing “great damage to tax paying retailers,” adding that “towns, cities and states throughout the U.S. are being hurt – many jobs being lost!”
And beginning last December, Trump took hit after hit at The Washington Post, which is owned by Amazon’s founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, tying the publication to Amazon.
He accused The Post of possibly being a “lobbyist weapon” for the company, seeking to keep politicians “from looking into Amazon no-tax monopoly.” He called the publication a “big tax shelter” for Amazon, the stock of which he said would “crumble like a paper bag” if the company “ever had to pay fair taxes.” And he attempted to brand the paper as the “#AmazonWashingtonPost.”
Though Trump and Bezos have been part of a few meetings together, the Amazon CEO has drawn eyebrows by appearing to wear his emotions on his sleeve. His expressions don’t suggest any sort of chemistry between the two leaders.
When you don't realize the dinner party is going poorly. pic.twitter.com/jWpMSkrtKr
— Ryan McGee (@TVMcGee) June 20, 2017
Headed for a collision course?
Given all the attacks, it appears the administration is on a collision course with the company. Trump is interested in taking on the corporation, and it could mean Amazon’s days as a darling of Washington, DC, are numbered.
For instance, Democrats are staking out a platform as the party opposed to megamergers, beefing up their credentials on antitrust matters. As Business Insider’s Alex Morell wrote recently, the direct threat from large corporations like Amazon is spurring the most recent wave of massive mergers.
And while Amazon’s megamerger of 2017 – its deal to acquire Whole Foods – went through relatively unscathed, huge deals such as AT&T’s proposal to acquire Time Warner have received full-scale challenges from the Justice Department, signaling what could be a turning page in US antitrust practice.
Recently asked about its thoughts on Amazon and some of the other tech giants possibly becoming too large, the White House told Business Insider in a statement that the internet tech industry was “one of the crown jewels in the American economy.” But “nonetheless,” it said, “the stability of the rule of law equally to all is also a critical component to economic prosperity.”
“Violations of the law will be enforced,” an administration official said.
The race to land Amazon’s new headquarters
At the same time, cities across the US are burning through taxpayer dollars in an effort to land Amazon’s second headquarters – an effort that will prove fruitful for the eventual winner but that could spurn distaste for the company in cities that spend big on the effort and end up empty-handed.
As Business Insider’s Kate Taylor has reported, Amazon has picked up a dreaded mantle once held by Walmart – being viewed as the main destroyer of mom-and-pop businesses. At the same time, the company has come under fire for its treatment of employees, even as it is applauded for the benefits it provides.
As Taylor has reported, both the left and the right have launched boycott efforts aimed at the company.
Amazon has a lot going in its favor as it faces headwinds from Trump. An August poll from the left-leaning Public Policy Polling found that 53% of Trump voters held a favorable view of Amazon, while just 20% held an unfavorable view of the company. Another 27% said they were not sure.
Among all respondents, 60% held favorable views of Amazon, while 13% viewed the company unfavorably and 26% were unsure.
And a recent Reuters poll found that 60% of online shoppers planned to use Amazon for most of their holiday purchases, a 10-point increase in just two years. Their main competitors, Walmart, Target, and Macy’s, all saw a decline in the percentage of shoppers who used their online services.
But the internet giant now faces opposition in the form of the most powerful person in the world. Now, it’s a question of whether he – and others who side with him – decide to move and take meaningful action.