April 29, 2020 / 9:46 PM / a month ago

Trump says internet retailers that use 'laughing stock' Post Office must pay more

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump lambasted internet retailers again on Wednesday for taking advantage of the U.S. Postal Service and said those firms needed to pay more for package delivery.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a roundtable discussion with industry executives on the administration's plan for "Opening Up America Again” amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 29, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

“We want our post office to be successful. We don’t want it to be a laughing stock and a stupidly run organization the way it’s been for so many decades now. It’s ridiculous,” Trump said during an event at the White House.

“We want to stabilize the post office, and the way you do that is these companies are going to have to pay more,” Trump said of internet retailers. “The companies are going to have to pay a percentage of that ... loss.”

Trump threatened last week to block federal aid for the Postal Service unless it raises shipping rates for online companies like Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O), prompting criticism that the move would hurt consumers relying more than usual on packages during the coronavirus outbreak.

The Postal Service, which employs more than 600,000 people, has said that it may not be able to continue service past September without help, as the pandemic batters the U.S. economy.

Trump has long been critical of Amazon in particular. He did not mention the company by name on Wednesday, but his pique with the online retailer was clear.

“We’re making a lot of people rich and a lot of companies rich by subsidizing these companies. On top of that, they don’t pay the same taxes as a retail store. It’s very unfair to the retailers,” Trump said.

Amazon founder and Chief Executive Jeff Bezos is the richest man in the world, according to Forbes. Bezos owns the Washington Post newspaper, whose coverage of the Trump administration has angered the president.

The Package Coalition, whose members include Amazon, eBay Inc (EBAY.O) and others, has said that raising prices to deliver packages would mean Americans would pay higher prices.

The president, a Republican who is running for re-election in November, made clear he wanted to protect postal workers

“We want to take care of our taxpayers and we want to take care of, very, very importantly, the people that work at the post office.”

Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Peter Cooney

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