The Trump vs Amazon battle has just heated up again with the president renewing another vow he made while on the campaign trail last year. Trump has used his infamous Twitter account to point the finger at Amazon for eliminating jobs.
Trump vs Amazon: “jobs being lost”
According to the president, much of the country is being hit by Amazon, and the damage is very severe.
“Amazon is doing great damage to tax paying retailers,” Trump tweeted. “Towns, cities and states throughout the U.S. are being hurt – many jobs being lost!”
It’s unclear what sparked this latest shot in the battle of Trump vs Amazon, but The Washington Post ran a lengthy editorial about him today, joining a chorus of voices condemning his responses to the violence in Charlottesville last weekend. Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos also owns the Post, so it doesn’t take much of a stretch to guess that Trump may be having a knee-jerk reaction to that article.
His tweet today calls to mind some of the things he said on the campaign trail last year. For example, he said while running for president that he would pursue Amazon for antitrust violations if elected. He called out the massive online retailer as a monopoly, proclaiming that the company would “have such problems” if he became president. Trump also has some bones to pick with Amazon directly, as the company sold merchandise bashing him last year.
Amazon on Washington’s radar
The Trump vs Amazon fight is much broader than a spat between the president and the online retailer. Lawmakers in Washington have apparently mentioned Amazon in light of antitrust issues. Hedge fund manager Doug Kass, who heads up Seabreeze Partners Management, said last month that he started shorting the online retailer because U.S. lawmakers were circling then.
MarketWatch reported in July that Kass had written that he learned about “early discussions and due diligence being considered in the legislative chambers in Washington DC.” He said lawmakers were considering “antitrust opposition” not only to the online retailer’s business practices but also to its strategies for pricing and even expansion.
Bipartisan effort to take down Amazon
Interestingly, Kass said that “certain Democrats in the Senate” pulled the trigger on the preliminary probe into Amazon’s “adverse impact on competition. If true, this battle is a bipartisan effort rather than a one-on-one fight pitting Trump vs Amazon.
The online retailer’s pending acquisition of Whole Foods only added fuel to the fire in June, as at least one lawmaker has called for antitrust hearings to determine the anticompetitive threat posed by the deal. Amazon has tapped the debt market to fund the acquisition. Numerous brick-and-mortar retailers have declared bankruptcy this year, and there are still more than four months left in the year. Other retailers have been closing stores in what some analysts predict will be a record-setting year for store closures.
The U.S. isn’t the only country whose antitrust regulators have taken notice of Amazon’s aggressive expansion plans. Japanese regulators raided the online retailer’s offices in Tokyo in connection with possible antitrust violations. Additionally, antitrust officials in the European Union brought about the end of Amazon’s and Apple’s exclusivity for audiobooks.