Wall Street Journal warns Trump’s ‘political’ attacks on Amazon and Jeff Bezos could lead to impeachment
The conservative editorial board of the Wall Street Journal took President Donald Trump to task for his bizarre Thursday tweet attacking Amazon.com, saying the assault on the popular company appeared to be political in nature and that he could face impeachment should he decide to sic government agencies on the company.
In the piece published on Friday morning, the WSJ board noted that Trump appears to be going after Amazon because it was founded by billionaire Jeff Bezos, who owns the Washington Post, which has been highly critical of the Trump administration.
On Thursday, Trump tweeted: “I have stated my concerns with Amazon long before the Election. Unlike others, they pay little or no taxes to state & local governments, use our Postal System as their Delivery Boy (causing tremendous loss to the U.S.), and are putting many thousands of retailers out of business!”
The Journal noted that Trump got his facts wrong about the relationship between Amazon and the U.S. Post Office writing, “Mr. Trump’s other big gripe is that taxpayers are on the losing end of Amazon’s deal with the U.S. Postal Service. But that story is also more complicated. The Post Office has often operated at a net loss, but package volumes grew in fiscal 2017 by more than 11%, making it a rare growth market. Many of the additional 589 million boxes delivered last year came from Amazon.”
“Though imperfect, the deal is mutually beneficial,” the editorial continued. “The Post Office arguably needs Amazon more than Amazon needs the Post Office. The Post Office could drop Amazon as a delivery partner, but it would likely have to raise prices elsewhere or endure higher losses. Would Mr. Trump take credit for that?”
As for the possibility that Trump might try to compel officials in his administration to inflict damage on the company, the Journal warned Trump he might be flirting with disaster and impeachment.
“Mr. Trump could try to unleash the Internal Revenue Service, though that would be a scandal that could be an impeachable offense,” the editorial cautioned. “The press and prosecutors would not give the Trump IRS the pass they gave Lois Lerner during the Obama years for targeting conservative nonprofits with extra scrutiny.”
“Mr. Trump can rail against anyone he wants, but America is still a nation of laws, as Mr. Obama also discovered,” the editors concluded. “This is a lesson Mr. Trump’s critics forgot as they cried wolf over a fascist takeover. The political reality is that the more Mr. Trump publicly assails Amazon, the harder it will be to take regulatory action, deserved or not.”
You can read the whole piece here (subscription required).