Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Friday celebrated news that Amazon is bringing jobs to New York months after she helped scuttle its plans to employ many more residents in a new headquarters.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Amazon has signed a lease for office space on Manhattan’s west side, where it will have 1,500 employees. A day earlier, the Journal reported that Facebook is in talks to lease twice as much office space in a neighborhood nearby.
Amazon said it is taking the space without the billions of dollars of government support it won for agreeing to bring its “HQ2” to New York City.
In a series of tweets, Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat, claimed her role in opposing the headquarters had been vindicated.
“Won’t you look at that: Amazon is coming to NYC anyway – *without* requiring the public to finance shady deals, helipad handouts for Jeff Bezos, & corporate giveaways,” she said. “Maybe the Trump admin should focus more on cutting public assistance to billionaires instead of poor families.”
The progressive congresswoman followed up by posting a photo of herself smirking on a couch, which she captioned: “Me waiting on the haters to apologize after we were proven right on Amazon and saved the public billions.”
Me waiting on the haters to apologize after we were proven right on Amazon and saved the public billions https://t.co/AC64pG0nZI pic.twitter.com/xzCepkX4AV
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) December 6, 2019
Ocasio-Cortez’s tweets quickly earned hundreds of thousands of likes as supporters showered her with praise.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, an Ohio Independent and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, said joked that Amazon clearly “didn’t need taxpayers to fork over billions in corporate welfare to create jobs in New York.”
He added, “AOC and many others fighting for working people were right.”
Amazon was valued at $1 trillion but pays $0 in federal taxes. So imagine my surprise to find out it didn’t need taxpayers to fork over billions in corporate welfare to create jobs in New York. @AOC and many others fighting for working people were right. https://t.co/uUF0bA3Yaj
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) December 7, 2019
Celebrity drag queen Monet X Change said, “Every NYer should be writing this woman a thank you note,” calling Ocasio-Cortez
the way, the truth, the life, the business, the one!”
Every NYer should be writing this woman a thank you note. @AOC is the way, the truth, the life, the business, the one! https://t.co/kBiFGneQYV
— Monét X Change (@monetxchange) December 7, 2019
Emma Vigeland, a correspondent for The Young Turks, a progressive media network, said Republicans had been proven wrong and Ocasio-Cortez had been “unequivocally, entirely and completely proven right.”
.@AOC called Amazon’s bluff and corporatist Democrats and Republicans were incredulous… “She took da JOBS!!!”
She’s been unequivocally, entirely and completely proven right. https://t.co/W3jM6VLONC
— Emma Vigeland (@EmmaVigeland) December 6, 2019
AOC slammed for fuzzy math on Amazon coming to New York
However, others noted that Amazon is hardly making the same kind of investment in New York City that it agreed to in November 2018, when it pledged to create 25,000 new jobs in exchange for $3 billion in city and state subsidies of its new headquarters.
Ocasio-Cortez opposed the deal along with some local politicians and activists. She decried the financial inducements and argued that big corporations should be required to commit to hiring within the community, providing generous employment terms and letting workers engaged in collective bargaining.
When Amazon pulled out of the HQ2 agreed in February, Ocasio-Cortez cheered the development as a win for “everyday New Yorkers.”
Many conservative commentators mocked Ocasio-Cortez for trying to declare victory again.
Social media strategist Caleb Hull was among those who noted that Amazon is looking to bring just 6 percent as many jobs to the city as under the HQ2 plan. He also pointed out that the headquarters would have been located in Long Island City, on the border of Ocasio-Cortez’s district, rather than across the East River.
“She’s taking a victory lap for a 94% loss in jobs in NYC and 25,000 job loss in her district,” he said. “Socialist logic is incredible.”
AOC could have had 25,000 jobs in her district from Amazon, but now, Amazon is only offering 1,500 jobs using rental space OUTSIDE her district.
She's taking a victory lap for a 94% loss in jobs in NYC and 25,000 job loss in her district.
Socialist logic is incredible. https://t.co/11EDDEJpCR
— Caleb Hull ??? (@CalebJHull) December 7, 2019
In subsequent tweets, Hull said Ocasio-Cortez was “an idiot” to think she had achieved a win for her constituents and her followers were “dumb” to be praising her for it.
You went from 25,000 Amazon jobs in your district to just 1,500 being offered OUTSIDE your district.
You're an idiot if you think this is a success for your constituents.
— Caleb Hull ??? (@CalebJHull) December 7, 2019
Some liberals joined the fact-checking, too.
Political scientist Ian Bremmer said New York ultimately saved no money by losing Amazon’s headquarters, adding, “Extraordinary to me AOC wants to take credit for this.”
HQ2 plan for NYC: 25,000 jobs
New Amazon NYC lease: 1,500 jobs
NYC revenue savings from Amazon going to DC: $0
Extraordinary to me AOC wants to take credit for this. https://t.co/4sSL5U78Ni
— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) December 7, 2019
Ocasio-Cortez defended herself from what she called the “GOP disinfo,” tweeting that the 150,000 jobs were a “fantasy” and that her constituents could commute to work at Amazon’s office in Manhattan.
Despite her confident tone and Twitter cheerleaders, Ocasio-Cortez’s stance on Amazon has little support among New Yorkers. According to polls, a more than two-thirds of residents disagreed with her opposition to HQ2, and even among her own constituents, most said they wanted to see the deal revived.