Could Trump's Amazon animosity block Whole Foods deal?

by: Essex Porter Updated:

Amazon's broad selection and fast delivery have conquered the traditional retail industry -- and as a candidate, Donald Trump put founder Jeff Bezos on notice.

He hammered Bezos for buying the Washington Post.

“I have respect for Jeff Bezos. But he bought the Washington Post to have political influence and I gotta tell you we have a different country than we used to have,” Trump said during a campaign rally in February of 2016.

 


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Back then, candidate Trump warned Bezos.

“Believe me, if I become president, oh do they have problems, they're going to have such problems.”

Now Amazon wants to get bigger by buying Whole Foods. That might run afoul of the president's instincts -- but does it run afoul of antitrust laws?

Seattle University professor Jack Kirkwood is an expert in anti-trust.

"Back when the anti-trust laws were first passed, there was some concern about pure bigness, pure size of corporations. But it's now clear that the courts interpret the antitrust laws as a consumer protection measure,” Kirkwood said.

And as Amazon has done in retail, Kirkwood believes the Whole Foods buyout is likely to lower prices for consumers.

But if Donald Trump just doesn't like this deal, can he stop it? No he can't. He can appoint sympathetic people to the trade commission so he has the power personnel there, but the decision whether to stop the merger is ultimately up to the courts.

After the election, Bezos went to Trump Tower last December to serve on the new president's Tech Council.

“Super excited about the possibilities,” Bezos told the president then.

The council is scheduled to meet again with the president on Monday where Trump may tell Bezos what he thinks of Amazon getting bigger.