Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo wasn’t quite ready to pass judgment on freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for forcing Amazon to reconsider building a new headquarters in the state.
At a press conference in Washington Friday, Cuomo left the smiting of AOC’s reputation to a higher power. A much higher power.
Gov. Cuomo asked if @Aoc is to blame for Amazon pulling out of New York says, "God issues fault" (but later adds that other government officials "have more of the liability").
— Ginger Gibson (@GingerGibson) February 22, 2019
Amazon.com decided to pull out of plans to build their HQ2 facility in Queens after mounting pressure from progressive New York legislators, including AOC, forced their hand. Cuomo and New York Mayor Bill De Blasio had been proponents of Amazon’s plans in New York and, while AOC celebrated on Twitter:
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
They were less ebullient. And in some ways already setting the tone that Amazon was at fault, not the legislators who had poisoned the well against them.
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
AOC and the New York progressive left pushed back, reports indicate, because they were particularly disturbed by tax breaks planned for the online powerhouse.
The fierceness of the opposition seemed to catch both the mayor and governor by surprise, and in their rare moment of unity, they failed to convince Amazon skeptics of the deal’s merits. Try as they might, they could not communicate effectively enough that the $3 billion in tax breaks that Amazon was to receive were, for the most part, reductions in future taxes that the company would have paid had it moved here.
Cuomo later said the pullout was a “lost economic opportunity” that cost the state “at least 25,000-40,000 good paying jobs for our state and nearly $30 billion dollars in new revenue to fund transit improvements, new housing, schools and countless other quality-of-life improvements.”
However, on Friday, he seemed unwilling to lay the blame at the feet of AOC, saying it’s too early to tell if she will help her state — or, presumably, harm it — during her tenure in Washington, DC.
“God issues fault,” Cuomo said. “She was against it, a number of people were against it, but she did not have an official government role. There were people who had an official government role who were against it and I think they have more of the liability.”
Cuomo dismissed the idea that Ocasio-Cortez could be pushing his party too far to the left, pointing to progressive initiatives that had found favor with voters such as New York’s $15 minimum wage, paid family leave and marriage equality.
He did manage to insinuate that AOC might want to approach her job slightly differently if she wants to maintain voter support; not just in her small constituency, but with New Yorkers in general.
“We have a significant Republican population,” Cuomo said. “I’m in my third term, so you can be a progressive and you can win with Democrats and Republicans. So it depends on how its done.”