U.S. President Donald Trump attacked online tech giant Amazon, accusing the company of paying too little taxes and being responsible for putting retailers out of business.
In a Twitter post early Thursday, Trump blasted the online retail titan, saying “I have stated my concerns with Amazon long before the Election,” adding, “Unlike others, they pay little or no taxes to state & local governments, use our Postal System as their Delivery Boy (causing tremendous loss to the U.S.), and are putting many thousands of retailers out of business!”
Trump has a long history blaming Amazon for hurting traditional brick-and-mortar retailers. He tweeted last August, “Amazon is doing great damage to tax paying retailers. Towns, cities and states throughout the U.S. are being hurt - many jobs being lost!”
For years, Trump has been at odds with Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, who owns the Washington Post newspaper.
In 2015, Trump tweeted, “The @washingtonpost, which loses a fortune, is owned by @JeffBezos for purposes of keeping taxes down at his no profit company, @amazon."
In response, Bezos joked he would send Trump to space in one of the rockets owned by Blue Origin, a company he separately owns. "Finally trashed by @realDonaldTrump. Will still reserve him a seat on the Blue Origin rocket. #sendDonaldtospace," Bezos tweeted.
Online news site Axios cited five unnamed sources in a report Wednesday that said Trump wants to “go after” Amazon, is “obsessed” with Amazon, believing Amazon “has gotten a free ride from taxpayers and cushy treatment from the U.S. Postal Service.”
According to the Axios report, the president has “wondered aloud if there may be any way to go after Amazon with antitrust or competition law."
It quotes another source saying, “It's been explained to him in multiple meetings that his perception is inaccurate and that the post office actually makes a ton of money from Amazon.”
After Trump's attacks, Amazon’s stock price took a nose dive on Wednesday, dropping more than four percent, losing more than $30 billion in market value.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said “there aren’t any specific policies on the table” regarding Amazon at this time, but the president is “always looking to create a level playing field for all businesses, and this is no different.”
"As an online retailer, Amazon currently collects taxes in all states that have sales tax, regardless of whether Amazon has a physical presence or not." It does not collect tax if items were purchased with third party sellers. Critics said this gives Amazon a competitive edge over traditional retailers that collect sales taxes on all purchases.
Amazon, founded in 1994, is the world’s largest Internet retailer measured by revenue and market capitalization. Last year, with over 40 subsidiaries, the company’s revenue exceeded $177 billion.