- Sunday’s “Meet the Press” stoked sharp condemnation from New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Amazon’s decision to cancel its deal to build HQ2 in the city.
- De Blasio said Amazon had let down working people when the tech giant “took their ball and went home.”
- In a later appearance on the show, Democratic National Committee head Tom Perez said open opposition from top Democrats didn’t mean the party was anti-business, just that it was seeking “moral capitalism.”
Top Democratic figures sounded off on Amazon’s decision to back out of a deal to build a headquarters in New York City Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio slammed Amazon for canceling its HQ2 project, saying the tech giant “took their ball and went home.”
The company had announced in November that it would bring 25,000 jobs to a large campus in a western section of Queens’ Long Island City neighborhood.
Despite its projected job creation from the project, there was immediate backlash from local lawmakers and interest groups, particularly about the company’s decision to accept tax breaks from the state that equaled around $3 billion. Locals also took issue with the company circumventing the local land-use process.
After the announcement, de Blasio immediately hit back, saying “you have to be tough to make it in New York City,” and if Amazon couldn’t recognize the city’s value, “its competitors will.”
“I have no problem with my fellow progressives critiquing a deal or wanting more from Amazon — I wanted more from Amazon too,” de Blasio said. “The bottom line is, this was an example of an abuse of corporate power. They had an agreement with the people of New York City.”
Read more: AMAZON CANCELS NEW YORK HQ2
In its statement announcing the canceled deal, the company said its decision was based on the fact that “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.”
De Blasio pointed to the response as a disappointing reaction to discussions that are common to “democracy.”
“They said they wanted a partnership, but the minute there were criticisms, they walked away,” de Blasio said. “What does that say to working people, that a company would leave them high and dry, simply because some people raised criticism?”
The decision to cancel the project was lauded by prominent liberal lawmakers including New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, and Massachusetts Sen. and 2020 candidate Elizabeth Warren.
Despite the party’s vocal celebration, Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez downplayed possible perceptions of Democrats as anti-business, saying progressive lawmakers only oppose business that causes harm.
“What Democrats are fighting for is prosperity that is shared… a moral capitalism, a capitalism that understands that when we all succeed, we all succeed,” Perez said. “When the middle class is succeeding, when people striving to get into the middle class succeed, then everybody succeeds.”
“Can you be a Democratic Socialist and for capitalism?” host Chuck Todd asked.
“Absolutely,” Perez said before pointing to former President Ronald Reagan’s initial condemnation of social programs like Medicare, which he labeled as socialist. “Some people want to try to use and misuse labels, here’s what Democrats are about: we’re about results.”
Despite the widespread opposition from liberal lawmakers, de Blasio had initially led the charge in securing the deal with Amazon.
“I am representing 8.6 million people and a clear majority of those people believe we need more fairness in our economy but of course we need growth, we need jobs, we need revenue,” de Blasio said. “But progressives can do both.”
Other supporters that said the deal’s long-term effects would more than compensate for other economic difficulties it would impose, which de Blasio echoed.
“We had a chance here to do something very positive for our city and for working people,” he said.