Amazon has been having a great year—until today (March 28). The company’s stock tanked up to 7% in afternoon trading—shedding more than $50 billion from its market cap—on a report from online news site Axios that Donald Trump is “obsessed” with Amazon and interested in building an antitrust case against it.
Axios reports that the US president’s ire toward Amazon is being fueled by his wealthy friends, who complain that Amazon is decimating their businesses. A source who has spoken with the US president told the news site, “He’s wondered aloud if there may be any way to go after Amazon with antitrust or competition law.”
That said, Trump’s obsession with Amazon is nothing new. Trump has grumbled about Amazon’s tax treatment and CEO Jeff Bezos’s ownership of the Washington Post (which he is fond of calling the “Amazon Washington Post” and “Fake News Washington Post”) since at least 2015. In a speech in February 2016, Trump said Amazon would “have such problems” if he were elected president. And at a White House dinner in July 2017, he attempted to get billionaire investor Leon Cooperman to claim that Amazon is a monopoly.
It’s unclear why the recent reporting in Axios would move the market so much, when Trump’s distaste for Amazon and Bezos is already well established. In the meantime, the president is reportedly unconcerned with Facebook, which is under fire from lawmakers in the US and the UK for alleged ties to Russian meddling in Brexit and the 2016 US election.
Under pressure from users, advertisers, investors, and lawmakers, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently agreed to testify before the US Congress for the first time. Per Axios, however, Trump isn’t interested in how Facebook handles user data and believes the Russia narrative is a hoax.
Update (March 29): Trump tweeted on March 29 that he “stated my concerns with Amazon long before the Election.” Reuters reported that the White House said it wasn’t considering any specific policy changes regarding Amazon.