Trump's Venom Against Amazon Is 'Personal'

'Vanity Fair' reports that he's fixated on taking down Jeff Bezos, owner of 'Washington Post'
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 3, 2018 11:15 AM CDT
Trump's Venom Against Amazon Is 'Personal'
President Trump, left, and Satya Nadella of Microsoft, center, listen as Jeff Bezos speaks during an American Technology Council roundtable at White House in June.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

President Trump continued his attacks on Amazon Tuesday with a morning tweet again accusing the company of getting a sweetheart deal from the post office in regard to shipping. "I am right about Amazon costing the United States Post Office massive amounts of money for being their Delivery Boy," Trump wrote. "Amazon should pay these costs (plus) and not have them bourne by the American Taxpayer. Many billions of dollars. P.O. leaders don't have a clue (or do they?)!" If a report by Gabriel Sherman at Vanity Fair is correct, expect the attacks on Amazon and owner Jeff Bezos to continue. Why? For Trump, it's "personal." Details and related developments:

  • Three potential weapons: Sherman writes that Trump intends to keep going after Amazon mainly because the president hates the Washington Post, also owned by Bezos. "He's obsessed," one source tells Sherman. This could end badly for Amazon in at least three ways: a renegotiated deal with the post office, the cancellation of a lucrative cloud computing deal with the Pentagon, and White House support of state investigations into Amazon's business practices.

  • Amazon stock: Trump's tweet Tuesday marked the fourth time in a week the president has gone after Amazon, and CNBC notes that the company's stock turned briefly negative immediately after the tweet before stabilizing. It was largely unchanged later in the morning. Still, Amazon has lost about $60 billion in market share over the last week, reports CNN.
  • Different: MarketWatch notes that it's not uncommon for a president to feud with business interests, pointing out JFK's fight with the steel industry as one example. What's unprecedented with Trump "is the frequency and intensity of his attacks and an apparent personal animus toward company owner Jeff Bezos," writes Jeffry Bartash.
  • A danger: A post at Business Insider notes that an estimated 90 million US adults have access to Amazon's Prime program, a potential political danger for Trump. "Does he really want to have a fight over whether Amazon should have to pay higher prices for shipping—which, in turn, would likely mean a higher Prime membership fee, or maybe even an end to free two-day shipping?" wonders Josh Barro.
  • Post office: NPR reports that the post office can't do much of anything right now in terms of policy because Trump hasn't filled nine seats on the 11-member Board of Governors of the US Postal Service. Amazon and USPS haven't disclosed details of their deal, but the Vanity Fair piece reports that former financial adviser Gary Cohn urged the president not to touch it because it's a moneymaker for the cash-strapped post office.
  • The other Post: Trump has criticized the newspaper as the "Amazon Washington Post," and apparently doesn't buy the argument that Bezos is a hands-off owner. The president has even accused Bezos of using the newspaper as a "lobbyist weapon" to ward off DC investigations into Amazon. "I don't even know how to describe what goes through my mind," top editor Martin Baron tells the New York Times of Trump's attacks. "It's completely made up."
(More Amazon stories.)

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