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Trump loves to hate Bezos, but he 'needs a strong Amazon'

Category: Finance,Retail

President Donald Trump has been tough on Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in the past, but the economy needs a company as strong as Amazon, D.A. Davidson's Tom Forte told CNBC on Friday.

"I would argue that Washington, including President Trump, needs Amazon to continue to succeed. If you think about the second headquarters, we are talking about thousands of jobs, job creation and arguably, one of the most powerful and effective U.S. companies," Forte said during a "Closing Bell" interview.

Trump has repeatedly bashed Amazon, especially on social media and in interviews, alleging the company's dominance is hurting American retailers and the postal service, and falsely asserting The Washington Post functions as "a lobbyist for Amazon." Trump frequently links Amazon to The Washington Post, combining criticism of the newspaper's coverage with claims of unfair business practices by the online retailer, and has hinted at antitrust action against Amazon in the future.

Forte said Trump's threats do pose a real risk for Amazon but that his hostility is likely misdirected.

"Most of President Trump's tweets that are directed at Amazon are because Jeff Bezos owns personally The Washington Post," Forte said. "I think President Trump needs a strong Amazon, but clearly he is upset with Jeff Bezos."

Dryden Pence, chief investment officer of financial wealth planning company Pence Wealth, said he thinks criticism of Amazon — from Trump, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and others in Washington — is just a bunch of noise, especially if Amazon continues to innovate and create wealth for shareholders.

"That's going to continue to drive a lot of good things for the American economy and consumers. So I think we have to separate policy and politicians and ... I think you sort of almost ignore some of this. It's a lot of noise," Pence said in the same "Closing Bell" interview as Forte.

Speaking at the Economic Club in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, Bezos said the winner of the company's second headquarters will be announced "before the end of the year." Three locations in and around the nation's capital are still finalists. Forte speculates one of those three locations will ultimately be selected.

"I think ultimately Washington, D.C., or a neighboring location will be the headquarters because that's what would give Amazon the most influence — being that close to the federal government," Forte said.

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