Trump attacks Amazon and big businesses

Megan Grantham, Staff Reporter

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President Donald Trump recently sent out a series of tweets attacking Amazon, an American electronic commerce and cloud computing company founded in 1994, for allegedly avoiding taxes, cheating the U.S. Postal Service and undermining traditional retailers. Trump’s accusatory notions caused Amazon’s stock to sharply decline, especially among technology stocks, according to The Atlantic.
Neil Bradley, executive vice president and chief policy officer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce-usually a supporter of Republican presidents-released a statement on April 3 on behalf of the organization.
Bradley noted, “It’s inappropriate for government officials to use their position to attack an American company. The U.S. economy is the world’s most powerful because it embraces the free enterprise system and the rule of law, whereby policy matters are handled through recognized policy making processes.”
Although Bradley did not exclusively name Trump, he noted that verbal disapproval of businesses from politicians “undermines economic growth and job creation.”
Previously, Trump had been praised by many for his attention and aid to the business community, granting many desired key policy changes. His tax bill cut corporate taxes. Federal agencies are trimming financial, environmental and consumer-protection rules. Although Trump is pursuing some policies that many businesses do not support, like regulating immigration and increasing nationalistic trade barriers, he has usually aligned with corporate preferences, as reported by The Atlantic.Nancy Koehn, a historian at Harvard Business School, told The Atlantic that Trump is the first president to target individual businesses, as opposed to generally criticizing the power of companies at large.
She noted that Trump took the Amazon “stock price down by publicly singling out a company and its leader… relentlessly, and without a specific public policy purpose, there is no precedent for that.”
The New York Times reports that Amazon is not alone in the tribulations it is facing with presidential criticism. Trump has expressed disapproval of Verizon, Coca-Cola, H&R Block, Nordstrom, Sony and S&P Global. Words he uses to describe these businesses include “shameful,” “true garbage,” “dishonest,” “really dumb,” “failing” and “phony.” Many other presidents have disagreed with company interests in the past, but Trump is among the first to routinely single out individual businesses. Dean C. Garfield, president of the Information Technology Industry Council, which represents technology companies like Amazon, Dell, Facebook, Google and IBM, told The New York Times that Trump’s aggressive tweets are “an unprecedented situation for companies. The president’s tweets can cause significant reputational harm.”
Also, Trump made the feud worse by ordering a federal task force to investigate the Postal Service’s finances. Although the order does not mention Amazon directly, the company is apparent in the subtext. Trump asserted in this tweets that the Postal Service is losing money on Amazon package deliveries, potentially the reason for the order, according to CNN.

Editor’s Note: Information from The Atlantic, CNN and The New York Times was used in this report.