By LUCINDA SHEN
In his usual morning round of tweets, President Donald Trump confirmed reports that he would go after Internet giant Amazon for “putting many thousands of retailers out of business.” And with that, the Commander in Chief cut billions of dollars from the net worth of the world’s richest man—Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
On Thursday, Trump tweeted that he’s “stated my concerns with Amazon long before the election”—appearing to confirm reports by news site Axios that the president was “obsessed” with Amazon, and was seeking to use antitrust laws against the company.
I have stated my concerns with Amazon long before the Election. Unlike others, they pay little or no taxes to state & local governments, use our Postal System as their Delivery Boy (causing tremendous loss to the U.S.), and are putting many thousands of retailers out of business!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 29, 2018
Since that report Wednesday morning, shares of Amazon have shed nearly 9%—lopping off as much as $10.7 billion from the net worth of Bezos, who recently became the world’s richest man (excluding, perhaps, Russian President Vladimir Putin). Bezos’ stake in Amazon is now worth in $107.7 billion, based on the firm’s most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Notably, that loss is greater than the net worth of Trump himself, who has an estimated net worth of about $3.1 billion.
Trump has previously tweeted about Amazon, saying that it has done “great damage to tax paying retailers.” The president has also attacked Amazon for Bezos’ ownership of the Washington Post, which has aggressively reported about missteps by Trump and his administration, thereby putting Bezos in Trump’s cross hairs.
In a segment of Fox News’ Fox and Friends early Thursday, Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah added to the President’s tweet.
“Right now there is no Internet sales tax,” Shah said. “And as a result companies like Amazon can buy and sell good without having to pay basic retail taxes that your stores and your convenience stores and all the folks around, when you walk out of the studio over there and grab something, you have to pay. And that puts brick-and-mortar retail stores at a disadvantage.”
In fact, Amazon collects sales tax in roughly 45 states and the District of Columbia, just like the physical retailers it competes against. A few of the states where Amazon has no physical presence like South Dakota are seeking to change the law to require online retailers without stores or other facilities within their borders to collect sales tax payments from residents.