Trump criticizes Amazon for 'great damage' to retailers

President Trump renewed his attack on Amazon Wednesday, tweeting that the e-commerce giant is "doing great damage to tax paying retailers" and removing jobs in cities. 

Amazon, which employs about 180,000 in the U.S. and has plans to finish hiring 100,000 more full and part-time jobs by mid-2018, couldn't be reached for comment. 

Trump's blistering tweet, his first of the day, was issued hours after The Washington Post -- the newspaper owned by Amazon chairman Jeff Bezos -- ran an editorial with the headline, "Mr. Trump gives comfort to racists."  

Many brick-and-mortar retailers are struggling to boost sales as customers increasingly turn to e-commerce sources, particularly Amazon, and they've been open about the difficult competitive environment. Several retailers, including The Limited, True Religion and Payless ShoeSource, have declared bankruptcy this year. 

The Washington Post has been aggressive in covering Trump and the White House, breaking several impactful stories this year. The paper and other national media outlets have been at the receiving end of the president's constant attacks -- on Twitter and in encounters with reporters -- on what he considers to be "fake news."  

Using the hashtag #AmazonWashingtonPost, Trump tweeted in June that the paper was  "the guardian of Amazon not paying internet taxes (which they should)."

The latest feud adds another wrinkle to Trump's increasingly fractured relationship with the corporate America. Scores of the chief executives who serve on Trump's advisory councils spoke out against the displays of racism and violence at the white nationalists' rally in Charlottesville over the weekend after Trump initially failed to directly censure the specific hate groups involved.  

Several chief executives on Trump's manufacturing jobs council -- Merck, Intel, Under Armour, AFL-CIO and Alliance for American Manufacturing -- resigned this week. 

Facing pressure over his initial response that blamed "many sides" for violence in Charlottesville, Trump read a statement late Monday that criticized the hate groups, including neo-Nazis and the KKK. 

But he seemed to retreat from the position Tuesday. Returning to his combative form, Trump chastised the counterprotesters and renewed criticism that he was reverting to the moral equivalency that triggered so much ire in the last 48 hours. 

 "What about the alt-left?" Trump said. "What about the fact they came charging? That they came charging with clubs in their hands, swinging clubs? Do they have any problem? I think they do."

Analysis: Combative Trump returns to form with defense of alt-right

Still, the "Amazon effect" on retail is real, executives and analysts say. Beyond selling books, electronics and gadgets online, Amazon has serious brick-and-mortar ambitions as well. Two months ago, Amazon agreed to buy Whole Foods for more than $13.4 billion, a deal that will be closely reviewed by antitrust regulators. 

U.S. apparel sales totaled about $200 billion last year, up about 3%, according to One Click Retail. Amazon captured about $3.4 billion of the total. But with a 25% apparel sales increase, it far outpaced other retailers. 

On its website, Amazon says it collects sales tax on items shipped to 45 states and Washington, D.C. Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon have no statewide sales tax.

© 2017 USATODAY.COM


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