Trump claims Amazon is causing "great damage"

Last Updated Aug 16, 2017 10:05 AM EDT

President Donald Trump is again taking aim at one of his favorite targets: Amazon.com. 

In a Wednesday morning tweet, the president complained the online retailer is "is doing great damage to tax paying retailers. Towns, cities and states throughout the U.S. are being hurt - many jobs being lost!"

Mr. Trump didn't back up his tweet with evidence of his claims. The bricks-and-mortar retailing industry is struggling with lower sales and store closings as shoppers migrate to online rivals, including Amazon (AMZN). 

Yet Amazon is also hiring rapidly as it expands its operations, with the company earlier this month aiming to hire 50,000 workers in a single day. Amazon has a goal of adding 100,000 employees by the middle of next year. 

The president often praises companies that are in the midst of hiring sprees, aiming to take credit for the added jobs. In January, the White House claimed Mr. Trump "was pleased to play role" in Amazon's decision to hire 100,000 workers. 

Shares of Amazon fell 0.5 percent in early trading. The stock has gained more than 30 percent since year-start. 

Immediately after his November electoral win, a critical tweet from Mr. Trump could push a company's shares into a nosedive. Witness Lockheed Martin (LMT), whose shares lost more than 5 percent of their value in December after the president took aim at "out of control" costs for its F-35 jets. Manufacturer Rexnord saw its shares slip 2.5 percent after Mr. Trump criticized its plan to layoff workers and outsource jobs to Mexico. 

Mr. Trump and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos have a long-standing feud, with the president previously airing complaints about the retailer's taxes and taking pot shots at The Washington Post, which Bezos has owned since 2013. The president has denounced the Post as Bezos's "toy" and accused the businessman of using the newspaper to push his political agenda. Bezos has denied interfering with the newspaper's coverage. (The Washington Post is a separate company from Amazon.)

In June, Trump complained that "#AmazonWashingtonPost" doesn't pay "Internet taxes." Some speculated the tweet was prompted by a Post story that said at least some of Mr. Trump's country clubs are decorated with phony Time magazine covers featuring Donald Trump.

Tax policy experts have said Mr. Trump's characterization of Amazon's tax situation is misleading. Amazon now collects taxes in all 45 states (plus the District of Columbia) that levy sales taxes, even though it's not legally required to.