HBO Real Time host Bill Maher mocked Americans living in red states as less “affluent and educated” than those living in blue states. The comment was part of his message to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos after his company pulled out of a deal to build a new headquarters in Queens, New York City, that would have brought 25,000 jobs to the city.
“We have a problem in America called spatial geographic inequality which means the most affluent and educated people are clustered in just a few cities,” Maher explained. “We have orchestras and theaters districts and world-class shopping. We have Chef Wolfgang Puck, they have Chef Boyardee.”
“Maybe that has something to do with why Trump voters are obsessed with ‘owning the libs.’ Because the libs own everything else,” he continued. “The blue parts of America are having a big prosperity party while that big sea of red feels like their invitation got lost in the mail.”
Maher then urged Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to “take one for the team” and invest in a less prosperous state such as Mississipi, creating thousands of jobs for the local economy and preventing voters from throwing a “turd in the punch bowl” by voting for Republican politicians.
“The blue parts of America are having a big prosperity party while the big sea of red feels like their invitation got lost in the mail — and they still use the mail,” he explained. “The fly-over states have become the passed-over states, that’s why red state voters are so pissed off. They don’t hate us, they want to be us.”
“Bezos, you’re worth $130 billion. Take one for the team! Stop playing cities off against one another and help a dying one come back to life,” he said. “If we keep leaving the red states behind, they’re going to keep getting angrier and crazier, because if you’re not invited to the party, the next best thing is to throw a turd in the punch bowl.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., was partially blamed for Amazon’s pullout of its planned headquarters in the city’s borough of Queens. She accepted the blame, and even celebrated defeating the ‘richest man in the world’, but it did not hurt Bezos, it hurt New York residents, and the businesses that would have profited from Amazon’s headquarters being there.
Yeah I’m laughing @ this.
Amazon was not coming to my Congressional district, had no concentrated outreach to us that I’m aware of, yet w/ no effort I defeated the richest man in the world?
Doesn’t add up. Story that’s not being told: the local community organized to reject it. https://t.co/S9Or7NKprZ
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 15, 2019
A new billboard saying “Thanks for nothing, AOC!”, funded by the Job Creators Network debuted the billboard which called out Ocasio-Cortez for her role in Amazon’s canceled plans for the new headquarters, known as HQ2.
— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) February 20, 2019
Fox Business reports:
The billboard — which will be located on 42nd street near 8th Avenue for one week beginning on Wednesday, February 20 — is headlined “Amazon Pullout, Thanks for Nothing, AOC.”
“The Amazon pullout is a perfect example of what we’ve been saying: socialism takes and capitalism creates,” Alfredo Ortiz, JCN president and CEO said in a release on Wednesday.
“The economic consequences of the HQ2 termination gives America a small taste of the harm that is to come if Ocasio-Cortez’s anti-business canon comes to fruition and is made federal policy.”
Last week, Amazon announced it pulled out of its plan to build a second headquarters in Long Island City following a flood of opposition from city and state officials, including Ocasio-Cortez, who heavily criticized the e-commerce giant for taking massive tax breaks from the state worth an estimated $1.525 billion despite being a “billion-dollar company.”
Other incentives for the company included a refundable tax credit worth as much as $1.2 billion over 10 years for the salaries it was to pay workers and a $325 million cash grant from Empire State Development (the state’s economic development arm) based on the square footage of buildings it occupies over the next 10 years.
Following the news, Ocasio-Cortez immediately tweeted celebrating Amazon’s departure.
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
And while there were a number of protests that popped up in opposition to the deal — particularly over Amazon’s refusal to unionize the proposed new campus — there was also a fair amount of support for it. Citizens polled by Qunnipiac were in favor of the deal as recently as Dec. 5 of last year:
New York City voters approve 57 – 26 percent, including 60 – 26 percent among Queens voters, of Amazon locating one of its new headquarters in Long Island City in Queens.
And Amazon made no mention of community disapproval when explaining why the deal was being terminated. Instead, executives pointed the finger at local and state elected officials who were less than “cooperative”:
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.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also took issue with Ocasio-Cortez, claiming Sunday during a segment of “Meet the Press” that she didn’t understand how the deal was supposed to work, and her lack of understanding coupled with her vocal activism had cost New York a great opportunity.