An Amazon spokesperson blamed Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and her vocal resistance for the company’s shocking decision to cancel plans for its New York City headquarters on Thursday.
Polls showed that 70 percent of New Yorkers supported Amazon’s planned investment in the state.
Thus, Amazon stunned many New Yorkers and the nation at large when the company bowed to intense opposition from some state and local officials on Thursday and announced it was abandoning the Big Apple for its second headquarters.
“For Amazon, the commitment to build a new headquarters requires positive, collaborative relationships with state and local elected officials who will be supportive over the long-term,” Amazon said in a statement.
But “a number of state and local politicians have made it clear that they oppose our presence and will not work with us to build the type of relationships that are required to go forward with the project we and many others envisioned in Long Island City,” the company admitted.
Jodi Seth, Amazon’s head of policy communications, told NBC News that same day the company blamed a few specific New York politicians for its decision.
“It wasn’t any one incident,” Seth noted. “It was that the environment over the course of the past three months had not got[ten] any better. There were some local and state elected officials who refused to meet with Amazon and criticized us day in and day out about the plan.”
“If you talk to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, it’s ‘Never Amazon,’” Seth added. “If you talk to [New York City Councilman Jimmy] Van Bramer [a Democrat], it’s unions.”
Seth said Amazon hadn’t even been sure “if the deal would be approved until a year from now” if the company had stuck with it.
“We were pretty confident the deal would be approved, in that the governor was working hard to make it happen. But looking at the opposition and the timeline we decided we don’t want to work in this environment in the long term,” Seth said.
Long Island City apartment owner Sam Musovic even called for a nationwide boycott of Amazon and its products to take place Friday at 2:15 p.m. Eastern.
“Musovic and his fellow business and apartment building owners are weighing their legal options and have already [announced] their intention to organize and sue the shipping giant after they shipped their jobs elsewhere,” a statement from Long Island City Public Relations read. “He has started a petition to boycott Amazon which is being circulated [among] Queens residents and business owners.”
Amazon still plans to follow through on its headquarters plans in north Virginia.
The company would have brought an estimated 25,000 jobs to New York.
But Ocasio-Cortez and other liberals did not like the $3 billion in incentives that New York planned to award Amazon. They also resisted the second headquarters idea because they claimed it would lead to gentrification and skyrocketing housing prices.
The congresswoman celebrated Amazon’s retreat on Thursday.
“Anything is possible: today was the day a group of dedicated, everyday New Yorkers & their neighbors defeated Amazon’s corporate greed, its worker exploitation, and the power of the richest man in the world,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted in triumph.
Anything is possible: today was the day a group of dedicated, everyday New Yorkers & their neighbors defeated Amazon’s corporate greed, its worker exploitation, and the power of the richest man in the world. https://t.co/nyvm5vtH9k
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 14, 2019
Ocasio-Cortez told reporters, “I think it’s incredible. I mean, it shows that everyday Americans still have the power to organize and fight for their communities and they can have more say in this country than the richest man in the world.”
“If we were willing to give away away $3 billion for this deal, we could invest $3 billion in our district ourselves if we want to. We could hire more teachers, we can fix our subways, we can put a lot of people to work for that money if we wanted to,” Ocasio-Cortez added.
“There was no guarantee [of] those jobs for the New Yorkers that were here. We were looking at a deal that was not primarily putting the community first,” the congresswoman insisted.
Ocasio-Cortez pushed back against the criticism leveled at her for Amazon’s cancellation on Twitter on Friday.
“Come for me all you want, but my job is to make sure that people are protected in society,” the congresswoman wrote. “Someone’s got to look out for the people our system is leaving behind — esp now, when most of the wealth created is going to fewer people, those left behind are the majority of Americans.”
Come for me all you want, but my job is to make sure that people are protected in society.
Someone’s got to look out for the people our system is leaving behind – esp now, when most of the wealth created is going to fewer people, those left behind are the majority of Americans.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 15, 2019
Some blamed Ocaiso-Cortez directly — while others blamed her indirectly for the loss.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) blasted the “small group [of] politicians” who “put their own narrow political interests above their community” in a statement.
He noted that “poll after poll showed” New Yorkers “overwhelmingly supported bringing Amazon to Long Island City.”
Those politicians “should be held accountable for this lost economic opportunity,” Cuomo added.
Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) said it was “absolutely disgraceful” that Amazon was “driven from New York by left-wing progressive politicians.”
“Terrible loss of jobs for New York workers and New York economy,” King added.
Absolutely disgraceful that @Amazon is driven from New York by left wing progressive politicians. Terrible loss of jobs for New York workers and New York economy.
— Rep. Pete King (@RepPeteKing) February 14, 2019