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Trump's Claims Against Amazon Are Sheer Hypocrisy

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Donald Trump has targeted Amazon as an example of a company that he claims doesn't pay enough in taxes. The hypocrisy is impossible to miss, and, the president's claims are completely untrue.


Amazon pays sales taxes in 45 out of 50 states. Trump's online retail store, however, does not. In fact, Trump's branded merchandise only pays sales taxes on goods shipped to two states. Trump's retail products are also sold out of a location in Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in New York City.


Trump's attacks on Amazon, owned by Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, have been pouring through Twitter. The president's Twitter attacks have not been limited to Amazon, though. Since the days of the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump has also called The Washington Post, which is also owned by Bezos, "more fiction than fact," aka, fake news.


In addition to accusing Amazon of cheating the government out of tax revenue, the president has also falsely claimed that the online retail giant is "causing tremendous loss" to the United States Postal Service, on which Amazon relies for the majority of its deliveries.

Last year, Amazon paid $412 million in federal, state, and foreign taxes in 2017, according to regulatory filings. In 2016, they paid $273 million. And although the Supreme Court ruled in 1992 that retailers don't have to pay sales taxes in states where they don't have physical locations or employees, Amazon's representatives have publicly supported legislation that would ensure all online retailers pay local taxes.


"Trumpstore.com has always, and will continue to collect, report, and remit sales taxes in jurisdictions where it has an obligation to do so," a Trumpstore.com spokeswoman told The Wall Street Journal. But because Trump has not released his tax records, the public has no way of knowing how much, if anything, Trump's retail brand has paid in federal, state, or local taxes.

Over the weekend, former Clinton Treasury Secretary Larry Summers compared Trump's attacks on Amazon to Italian Dictator Benito Mussolini.

"What is not the job of the president of the United States is to go on a jihad against a company because he does not like the activities of a newspaper that is privately owned by its CEO," Summers said. "That is the kind of thing that happened in Mussolini's Italy … that is not the kind of thing that happens in the American democracy. It is something that should be deeply concerning to business people everywhere," he added.