Around 6 a.m., President Trump tweeted to his 36 million followers: “Amazon is doing great damages to tax paying retailers. Towns, cities and states throughout the U.S. are being hurt — many jobs being lost!” It was his first tweet of the day.
Amazon is doing great damage to tax paying retailers. Towns, cities and states throughout the U.S. are being hurt - many jobs being lost!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 16, 2017
Shares of Amazon fell 0.79 percent in the first hour of trading. A representative of the company could not be reached for comment.
This is not the first time President Trump has taken to Twitter to call out Amazon in relation to taxes, but it remains unclear whether he’s taking issue with the company’s collection of sales tax, which it does in every U.S. state with such laws, or its payment of taxes to the government.
A White House representative could not be reached to clarify the president’s position.
An earlier Amazon-related tweet came at the end of July, when the president questioned whether “Fake News Washington Post being used as a lobbyist weapon against Congress to keep Politicians from looking into Amazon no-tax monopoly?”
Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive officer of Amazon, in 2013 bought the Washington Post and the paper has been openly critical of the Trump administration.
After the president on Tuesday pivoted away from his brief denunciation of white nationalists and supremacists that gathered in Virginia ostensibly to protest the removal of a statute of Confederate General Robert E. Lee and violently clashed with counter-protesters, the Washington Post published articles saying he “lashed out defensively” and made it clear “he sides with the alt-right.”
The paper has also been the frequent receiver of internal White House leaks, which President Trump has publicly decried as illegal, while also claiming Washington Post stories about the administration are “fabricated” and “fake news.”
President Trump has been linking Amazon and the Washington Post, which are operated separately, with Tweets that go back to December 2015, about six months after he formally launched his campaign.
“The @washington post, which loses a fortune, is owned by @JeffBezos for purposes of keeping taxes down at his no profit company, @amazon,” then Candidate Trump wrote.
The same day he tweeted that Bezos uses the news outlet as a deduction, allowing him to “screw public on low taxation,” and said the paper was a “big tax shelter.”
More recently, President Trump wrote “The #AmazonWashingtonPost, sometimes referred to as the guardian of Amazon not paying internet taxes (which they should) is fake news!”
But it’s been more than 18 months since President Trump has included Bezos in any of his comments criticizing Amazon and the Washington Post.
Bezos still serves as a member of the American Technology Council formed by President Trump and led by his son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner as part of plans to “modernize” government operations.
Bezos has been publicly unperturbed by the President’s attacks, but executives of some other well known corporations are starting to separate themselves from administration.
Doug McMillon, chief executive officer of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and a member of the White House Manufacturing Advisory Council, on Tuesday posted a statement to the company’s website saying Trump’s response to the violent protests in Virginia “missed a critical opportunity to help bring our country together.”
Under Armour ceo Kevin Plank left the council on Monday, saying he will “continue to focus my efforts on inspiring every person that they can do anything through the power of sport which promotes unity, diversity and inclusion.”
Trump on Tuesday tweeted “For every CEO that drops out of the Manufacturing Council, I have many to take their place. Grandstanders should not have gone on. JOBS!”
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