A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Video: Trump on Amazon


This week’s fact-checking video from CNN’s Jake Tapper examines statements President Donald Trump has made about the business relationship between the U.S. Postal Service and the online retail behemoth Amazon.

At an April 3 press conference, Trump claimed that “the Post Office is losing billions of dollars … because it delivers packages for Amazon at a very below cost.”

The Postal Service has run up large annual deficits for years, but there’s no evidence that Amazon is to blame for those losses. In fact, the USPS parcel services used by Amazon and other businesses is the fastest-growing category of its delivery services. Revenue from USPS parcel services increased by $2.1 billion, or 11.8 percent, in fiscal year 2017.

We don’t know how much the Postal Service charges Amazon, but federal law requires that it set rates high enough to cover the cost of delivering parcel packages for Amazon and others. In response to an op-ed that appeared in the Wall Street Journal last year, USPS Chief Financial Officer Joseph Corbett wrote that it is “inaccurate” to say that the Postal Service delivers packages “below cost” for Amazon.

In his press conference, and on Twitter the same day, Trump also wrongly suggested that U.S. taxpayers were shouldering the costs for Amazon’s deliveries.

In reality, the Postal Service says it “receives NO tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.” That has been the case since at least 1982.

It’s true that the USPS has borrowed $15 billion from the Treasury Department’s Federal Financing Bank, but the funds were used to help prefund health care benefits for future Postal Service retirees, as required by a 2006 federal law. The funds are not directly related to any services provided to Amazon.

We covered all of this and more in “Trump’s Amazon Attack,” which was the basis for this week’s collaboration between FactCheck.org and CNN’s “State of the Union.” See all of our joint videos on our website.