by Graham Pierrepoint
US President Donald Trump has long since positioned himself as a leader who wants to do right by ordinary business in the US – and while much of the past year or so has been focused on a number of scandals and controversies which could yet still put his Presidency in jeopardy, the Commander in Chief has this week turned his attention to what is inarguably one of the most expansive commercial giants online today – Amazon, which has made its CEO Jeff Bezos the world’s richest citizen – if only for a brief period.
Trump has reportedly been discussing his concerns regarding Amazon behind the scenes, concerned that the firm and brand is growing to have too much power in the global marketplace – and that he wishes to make changes to the online retailer’s tax status, according to a report lodged by Axios and according to reports followed up by Reuters. His desire to try and curb Amazon’s power may come, as some outlets suggest, as a result of his distaste for the Washington Post, privately owned by Bezos, a publication which is one of many Trump has lambasted as having perpetuated ‘fake news’ during his time in office. Trump reportedly wants to pursue this level playing field – but is much of this desire to curb Amazon coming from his distaste for what he feels has become Bezos’ media mouthpiece?
Watch: ▶ The history of Trump and Amazon's long-standing feud
Either way, Bezos’ firm certainly felt the pinch on the stock market this week, as the value of Amazon dropped by around a worrying 5% following publication of the Axios report. This equates to over $30 billion – hardly small change – though it’s clear from this movement on Wall Street that some are concerned that Trump could well follow through on plans to cut back on how much Amazon can do – whether it be via taxation or other levies.
In a week or two where headlines regarding Trump appear to have taken a back seat thanks to unfolding matters regarding Russian diplomats and Facebook data scandals, this latest piece of White House news may not be very welcome at all for Amazon – whether or not Trump will make proposals, or if they will come to pass and rein in Amazon’s astounding growth, remains to be seen – but for now, they’re $30 billion lighter – and they’re going to want to try and claw that back.