Donald Trump's overt campaign against Amazon and its CEO Jeff Bezos continued apace today as the actual President of The United States took to Twitter once again in an attempt to foment public outrage against a private company.
Trump also took advantage of some White House camera time to repeat his new favorite - and not entirely factual - statistic that the USPS loses $1.50 on every package it ships for Amazon. The man behind that figure, Citi analyst Christian Wetherbee, has already publicly stated that there is some nuance to the math but that hardly matters to a man who has proven to be psychologically allergic to either accuracy or nuance. And Trump's fury at the USPS getting shafted is made even more hilarious and bizarre when one factors in that he has failed to appoint people to actually run the USPS.
The president's anger towards Amazon seems to be twofold and personal. Bezos is hovering around the "World's Wealthiest Person" title, an honor that Trump almost certainly yearns for with agonizing desire, and owns The Washington Post, a news organization that has taken an unapologetically adversarial stance towards the Trump Administration. Multiple reports have claimed that Trump has become "obsessed" with "hitting" Amazon, and Trump has long shown signs of being hung up on Bezos/Amazon.
Unlike yesterday, when Trump's anti-Amazon tweets sent the company's stock into a nosedive, the market seemed to tune out Uncle Donny's wacky ranting today, and AMZN closed up almost 1.5% on the day. Beyond the fact that the whole affair is utterly absurd, it stands to reason that a ton of buy orders were filled when one of the world's blue chippiest stocks fell by about $200 a share in 3 days.
And there was also the fact that news broke an hour before the bell citing White House sources who told Bloomberg that there was really no concrete game plan to go after the most powerful e-commerce, retail and cloud computing company in the world.
And that makes sense, because...well, no fucking shit.
Amazon employs more than half a million people and, with a market cap over $710 billion, has taken a pretty sizable role in the American economy. The fact that any politician would go out of their way to go full omertà on Bezos' baby is beyond the pale batshit, and also technically very illegal.
Consider this: You're a shareholder in a public company and some social media celebutard takes to some platform and uses their influence and audience to wage a vendetta by spreading weak/incorrect stats about the company that you own shares of, and then the stock falls like a lead zeppelin. What would you do? Perhaps sue the fucker for securities fraud?
Well, that's kind of the case here. We spoke to a securities lawyer at a white shoe NYC firm who told us "Yeah, we'd probably be suing the shit out anyone who did this to a client." And even more fun, that same lawyer was unclear if the president had immunity from a potential class action on something like this. And the White House source who spoke to Bloomberg was clearly trying to indicate that the West Wing is laboring to keep Trump's federal securities violations to more of an "over the sweater" variety because there is no playbook for something this stupid and wrong.
Put away your personal feelings for Amazon for a moment and let's be real honest with one another: This is fucking madness. We do a lot of stuff about fraud here at dealbreaker dot com, but we never really thought we'd be looking at a situation where the president was shit-posting about a company that Don Jr. and Eric have almost certainly shorted by now [or at least Don Jr.]. Trump has so thoroughly gaslighted us a citizenry that we are covering this whole thing as a markets story. It's...fucking not.
It's a constitutional crisis story.
In a few weeks, Trump will have moved on to a new obsessive target for his inchoate adolescent rage [unless Bezos tweets about how big his hands are] and Amazon will announce that it has ramped up plans on its own delivery logistics system. That will plunge the USPS into a cycle of fear and madness that will lead to fiscal crises and probably the firing of the Postmaster General [especially once Trump realizes that he never got rid of Obama's appointee]. Amazon is propping up the postal service at this point and Jeff Bezos does not fuck around when challenged. We are almost looking forward to Trump siccing Steve Mnuchin on Amazon, because Bezos eats guys like Stevie Mnooks for breakfast. REgardless of how this plays out, Jeff Bezos will win.
If Trump tweets about Amazon tomorrow [and he almost certainly well since that pit of need is bottomless] we'll be fascinated to see if it has any material affect on AMZN. Perhaps it will send the stock surging, traders don't have a clue (or do they)!
This whole thing is beyond the pale of reason, and it's time to start treating it as such.