- President Donald Trump is reportedly “obsessed” with Amazon.
- Trump has waged a lengthy war against the company.
- For the past week, Trump has blasted Amazon on social media
Axios reported that Trump is “obsessed” with the company, according to a source that spoke to the publication. Trump, the source said, is eyeing legal means to take down Amazon. Axios wrote that Trump believes the company is harming smaller companies and wants to curtail its dominance on online shopping.
Trump wants to do so by considering a change in Amazon’s tax status or utilizing antitrust law against the company.
In the week that’s followed that Axios report, Trump hasn’t been shy about blasting the company on Twitter and in public.
On Tuesday alone, Trump tweeted that he was “right” about his criticism of Amazon’s deal with the US Postal Service, later telling reporters in the White House that Amazon is causing massive store closures
But this is nothing new, as the president has been waging war against the internet giant for more than a year.
In December, he tweeted that the e-commerce giant was unfairly reaping the benefits of that USPS deal, something that Axios reported Wednesday was still very much on Trump’s mind. 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!”
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 in December 2016, 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 raised 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
Amazon does have a lot working 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.
Asked by Business Insider last year about the administration’s thoughts on Amazon and some of the other tech giants possibly becoming too large, a White House official said in a statement that the internet tech industry was “one of the crown jewels in the American economy.” But “nonetheless,” they 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,” the official said.
This post has been updated.