Donald Trump is desperate to prove Amazon is a monopoly

“Are you sure about that?”
“Are you sure about that?”
Image: Reuters/Carlo Allegri
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At a dinner at the White House in mid-July, US president Donald Trump asked billionaire investor Leon Cooperman—twice—whether he thought Amazon was a monopoly.

“And I said no, Mr. President, I don’t think it was, I think they’ve out-executed people, they’ve done a very good job, etc.,” Cooperman, founder of hedge fund Omega Advisors and a former partner at Goldman Sachs, told CNBC in a recent interview.

“I changed the subject very quickly,” he added.

Trump has made little effort to hide his dislike of Amazon, its founder and CEO Jeffrey Bezos, and the Washington Post, which Bezos bought in 2013. Trump’s comments on these matters include:

  • “The @washingtonpost, which loses a fortune, is owned by @JeffBezos for purposes of keeping taxes down at his no profit company, @amazon.” (On Twitter, in December 2015.)
  • “The @washingtonpost loses money (a deduction) and gives owner @JeffBezos power to screw public on low taxation of @Amazon! Big tax shelter.” (Same Twitter rant, 10 minutes later.)
  • “If I become president, oh, do they have problems. They’re going to have such problems.” (In a speech in February 2016).
  • “Amazon is getting away with murder tax-wise. He’s using the Washington Post for power so that the politicians in Washington don’t tax Amazon like they should be taxed.” (To Sean Hannity in May 2016.)
  • “He’s got a huge antitrust problem because he’s controlling so much, Amazon is controlling so much of what they are doing.” (Ditto.)
  • Amazon is doing great damage to tax paying retailers. Towns, cities and states throughout the U.S. are being hurt – many jobs being lost! (Twitter, August 2017.)

It’s true that Amazon has recently garnered more scrutiny for antitrust, but right now that’s mainly speculative. And if the stock market is any indication, investors aren’t worried. Aside from a couple of brief meltdowns in response to Trump’s tweets, Amazon’s stock has soared since the 2016 US presidential election. It’s up a full 50% since Nov. 9, 2016, more than double the performance of the S&P 500.