The president of a conservative group that placed a billboard in Times Square to lambast Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) has spoken out, blaming the congresswoman for the loss of 25,000 jobs in New York. Ocasio-Cortez is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America.
In an interview with “Fox & Friends” on Feb. 25, President of the Job Creators Network (JCN) Alfredo Ortiz reiterated how the pullout of the online retail giant has cost the state 25,000 jobs, $4 billion in lost wages, and about $27 billion in lost economic activity, which is higher than the $12 billion mentioned on the billboard.
— Job Creators Network (@JobCreatorsUSA) February 25, 2019
He said that his organization put up the billboard because he wanted more New Yorkers to be aware of Ocasio-Cortez’s policies and to have more discussions about it, adding that the congresswoman has become the “self-proclaimed face of the radical left-wing of the Democrats.”
The digital billboard, which has been up since Feb. 20, draws attention to the consequences of Amazon’s pullout.
“Thanks for nothing, AOC,” the billboard states, referring to the acronym of the Democratic Socialist’s name.
The next day, Ocasio-Cortez responded in a tweet by calling the billboard “wack” and attacking those who funded it. However, she ignored the message on the sign.
“Few things effectively communicate the power we’ve built in fighting dark money & anti-worker policies like billionaire-funded groups blowing tons of cash on wack billboards,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote. “This one is funded by the Mercers … fact that it’s in Times Sq tells you this isn’t for/by NYers.”
In response to the criticism by Ocasio-Cortez, JCN erected two new billboards on Feb. 22 with new messages addressed to the congresswoman.
“Hey AOC, saw your wack tweet,” one billboard read.
While the other read, “Hey AOC, this billboard cost about $4,000. But you cost NY 25,000 jobs and $4,000,000,000 in annual lost wages. Ouch!”
On Feb. 23, Ocasio-Cortez responded, saying, “Do you think the Mercers will eventually fund 8 JCN billboards, one for each of the 8 Bermuda offshore tax avoidance vehicles they’ve been linked to in the Paradise Papers?”
Do you think the Mercers will eventually fund 8 JCN billboards, one for each of the 8 Bermuda offshore tax avoidance vehicles they’ve been linked to in the Paradise Papers?https://t.co/nm2nrgVW51 https://t.co/euD9L7pk2b
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 23, 2019
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 23, 2019
Ortiz told the Fox program that he was surprised to see the amount of support he’s received from Democrats in New York and California who do not agree with the direction the party is heading.
“We are so proud that this conversation is actually now taking place across the country and we triggered something here,” he said.
Ortiz added that it was “kind of scary” that President Donald Trump had to declare that the United States will “never be a socialist country” in his State of the Union address.
“I applaud that. It’s actually kind of scary guys if you think about that an American president actually has to come down to the point where he has to make that claim,” he said.
“I don’t want to attack AOC in particular but her ideals and principles could completely destroy our economy. Look at Venezuela. … We don’t want that for this country,” he added.
Amazon Pullout Was Due to Political Opposition
Amazon withdrew from the New York deal on Feb. 14 because of opposition from state and local politicians.
“While polls show that 70 percent of New Yorkers support our plans and investment,” Amazon’s statement said “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 we and many others envisioned in Long Island City.”
When asked about Amazon’s pullout, Ocasio-Cortez said on Feb. 19 that it was “incredible.” But she drew criticism and ridicule by suggesting, incorrectly, that New York City was paying Amazon $3 billion for the jobs that the company was creating.
Few things effectively communicate the power we’ve built in fighting dark money & anti-worker policies like billionaire-funded groups blowing tons of cash on wack billboards (this one is funded by the Mercers).
(PS fact that it’s in Times Sq tells you this isn’t for/by NYers.) https://t.co/B4QTPi1r2k
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 21, 2019
“It shows that everyday Americans still have the power to organize and fight for their communities and they can have more say in this country than the richest man in the world,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio pointed out that the $3 billion figure was a tax incentive that the city would provide only after Amazon had built its headquarters and created the 25,000 jobs.
“And that $3 billion that would go back in tax incentives was only after we were getting the jobs and getting the revenue,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said, “There’s no money.”
Meanwhile, Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo chided the politicians who caused Amazon to scrap its plan.
“We competed in and won the most hotly contested national economic development competition in the United States, resulting in at least 25,000-40,000 good paying jobs for our state and nearly $30 billion in new revenue to fund transit improvements, new housing, schools, and countless other quality of life improvements,” Cuomo said.
“However, a small group of politicians put their own narrow political interests above their community–which poll after poll showed overwhelmingly supported bringing Amazon to Long Island City–the state’s economic future, and the best interests of the people of this state,” the New York governor added.
Epoch Times reporter Ivan Pentchoukov contributed to this report.