United States President Donald Trump on Wednesday lashed out at Amazon, claiming the US online colossus is doing “great damage” to other retailers and destroying jobs.
Trump, who has criticised Amazon in the past, offered no specific facts to back up his argument.
He launched his tirade in an early-morning tweet as he came under attack for blaming “both sides”following the death of a protester during a white supremacist rally over the weekend in Virginia. “Amazon is doing great damage to tax paying retailers,” Trump wrote.
“Towns, cities, and states throughout the US are being hurt — many jobs being lost!” Trump appeared to revive an argument that Amazon has an unfair advantage over other retailers by avoiding sales taxes. But the online giant has in recent years agreed to pay local sales tax in all US states.
According to the fact-checking website Politifact, Amazon last year paid $412 million in US federal, state, local and foreign taxes. Amazon has been blamed for the woes of a number of brick-and-mortar retailers, although analysts say many other factors have affected the sector.
Seattle, Washington-based Amazon has grown from its origins as a retailer to a diversified tech group in cloud computing, online video and other services. In January, Amazon announced that it planned to create more than 100,000 new US jobs over the coming 18 months.
During the election campaign, Trump said Amazon would have “huge antitrust problem,” presumably due to its position in retail. Trump has also claimed that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos purchased the Washington Post as a way to lobby on behalf of Amazon.
Amazon did not immediately respond to an AFP request for comment on the president’s tweet.
Trump’s comments come after several business leaders quit White House advisory panels, criticising the president failing to speak out immediately against white supremacists after the weekend rally and then saying they and counter-protesters shared blame for the violence.