Freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) fiercely defended her role in sinking the deal between New York City and Amazon on Tuesday in the face of criticism from colleagues on both sides of the aisle, Fox News reports.
Ocasio-Cortez, a self-described democratic socialist, received considerable backlash both online and offline in the wake of her vocal role in stopping Amazon from opening the second branch of its second headquarters — dubbed “HQ2” — in Long Island City, New York. The congresswoman celebrated Amazon’s decision to pull out of New York as a victory.
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
The New York Democrat cited concerns about the tax breaks being given to Amazon by New York City and the state of New York, calling the deal “one of the biggest giveaways in state history.”
In a Tuesday tweet, Ocasio-Cortez chastized critics, calling their reaction “knee jerk” and chiding them for assuming she does not understand “how tax giveaways to corps work.”
Frankly, the knee-jerk reaction assuming that I “don’t understand” how tax giveaways to corps work is disappointing.
No, it’s not possible that I could come to a different conclusion. The debate *must* be over my intelligence & understanding, instead of the merits of the deal.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 19, 2019
New York Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin chimed in, attacking Ocasio-Cortez and other critics of the deal and going as far to say that there is a “financial literacy epidemic in America.”
There is a financial literacy epidemic in America.
Quick lesson: NYC wasn’t handing cash to Amazon. It was an incentive program based on job creation, producing tax revenue.
There isn’t a $3 billion pile of money that can now be spent on subways or education.
— Andrew Ross Sorkin (@andrewrsorkin) February 14, 2019
Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also refuted the congresswoman’s claims, telling NBC News’ Chuck Todd that the funds weren’t “money you had over here, and it was going over there.”
“That $3 billion that would go back in tax incentives was only after we were getting the jobs and getting the revenue,” de Blasio added.
Additionally, de Blasio took a shot at Amazon on Twitter, saying that the city “gave Amazon the opportunity to be a good neighbor and do business in the greatest city in the world.”
You have to be tough to make it in New York City. We gave Amazon the opportunity to be a good neighbor and do business in the greatest city in the world. Instead of working with the community, Amazon threw away that opportunity.
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) February 14, 2019
Ocasio-Cortez’s Democratic colleague, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), also slammed her and the other politicians who were against the deal in a CNN interview on Friday.
“It used to be that we would protest wars. Now we are protesting jobs?” she said.
Watch the video below:
NYC's Democratic Rep for the district that Amazons HQ2 would be located in:
"We have got to diversify our economy. We are too reliant on financial services….. we used to protest wars, but now we're protesting jobs?" https://t.co/DJesQZ6tL8
— Christopher Ryan (@xtopheryan) February 16, 2019
Amazon backed out of the deal with New York on Feb. 14 after mounting opposition from a vocal group of politicians that included Ocasio-Cortez. Amazon’s withdrawal from the deal cost New York City 25,000 jobs and billions of dollars in “incremental tax revenue.”