President Donald Trump once again slammed Amazon and threatened the United States Postal Service of stopping all kinds of federal aid if it doesn't raise shipping rates for online companies. Trump's comments immediately drew criticism as an increasing number of customers are relying on package deliveries amid the coronavirus crisis.
This isn't the first time that Trump has lashed out at Amazon and e-commerce companies. He has often held these companies responsible for the financial challenges faced by the US Postal Service. However, Trump's comments come at a time when online orders are witnessing a surge as more people are staying indoors owing to the coronavirus crisis and refraining from visiting physical stores.
Trump accuses USPS
Trump has time and again accused the postal department for charging too less from e-commerce and online companies for the packages, saying that deliveries for such service cost more. He also blamed the postal department officials for being too "cozy" with big online retailers.
"The Postal Service is a joke. Because they're handing out packages for Amazon and other internet companies, and every time they bring a package, they lose money on it," said Trump. His comments came at an event to sign a $384 billion coronavirus relief bill aimed at helping small businesses and hospitals.
Trump said that the postal department should ideally raise the charge of delivering the packages by four times. He also threatened that if the USPS doesn't follow his instructions he will stop all federal aid for the department. "If they don't do it, I'm not signing anything and ... I'm not authorizing you to do anything," Trump said referring to the emergency loan, which must first be approved by the US Treasury Department.
Trump mellows down later
Treasury officials, who were present on the occasion along with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, told top officials of the postal department that they could ask for changes in the way the services manages its finances as part of the loan. Trump has had a long-standing verbal duel with online companies, especially Amazon, given that its owner Jeff Bezos owns Washington Post, which has often been critical of the president.
However, Trump later said that he wanted the USPS to be updated but also would make sure that it survived amid all kind of crisis. " I will never let our Post Office fail," he later tweeted. As of 2018, USPS was nearing around $700 billion in total losses, and last month a few Democrats said that the coronavirus crisis could compel the department to close down by June.