Larry Summers said President Donald Trump’s repeated criticism of Amazon is a “jihad” and likened Trump to Italian fascist dictator Mussolini.
“What is not the job of the president of the United States is to go on a jihad against a company because he does not like the activities of a newspaper that is privately owned by its CEO,” Summers said on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS show.
Jeff Bezos, the chief executive and controlling shareholder of Amazon, also owns the Washington Post. Many of the president’s critics believe his ire at Amazon is rooted in the president’s perception that Washington Post coverage of his administration is biased.
Summers, who was Treasury Secretary under Bill Clinton and was briefly the top economics adviser in the Obama White House, argued that he was not asserting that Amazon should be beyond criticism or antitrust scrutiny. He said that Trump’s attacks on Amazon resembled what happened in Italy under Mussolini. He said–inaccurately–that in the U.S. it shouldn’t be the case that “one company can be singled out at one moment, and another company can be singled out at another moment.”
This is incorrect as a matter of history. Trump’s attacks on Amazon follow the precedent of Dwight Eisenhower signing a law that more or less made a single company in the United States illegal despite a court ruling that it violated no antitrust laws. Breitbart reported on the law that broke up Transamerica last month.