New billboards slamming U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., have popped up in Times Square, continuing to criticize the freshman lawmaker for Amazon‘s decision to pull part of its planned second headquarters out of New York.
The billboards, which are at the “prominent intersection” of 42nd Street and 7th Avenue in Times Square, make note of the fact Ocasio-Cortez called attention to the first sign and continue to make the point the city lost out on 25,000 high-paying jobs.
The first billboard states “Hey AOC, Saw your wack tweet.” The second says, “Hey AOC, this billboard costs about $4,000. But you cost NY 25,000 jobs and $4,000,000,000 in annual lost wages. Ouch!”
“Facts are facts: while the Job Creators Network did spend some money highlighting the economic consequences of the Amazon pullout, Ocasio-Cortez deprived New York of 25,000 new jobs and $4 billion in annual wages,” said Alfredo Ortiz, JCN President and CEO, in a statement obtained by Fox News. “She can call us out all she wants about how we spend our money, but it’s clear that most people care more about how she spends theirs.”
“When all the jobs are in place, the figure comes to about $4 billion, and maybe even higher, when you consider wage increases,” JCN Chief Communications Officer Elaine Parker when asked where the $4 billion comes from.
The new ads come after Ocasio-Cortez slammed the first billboard, which said, “Thanks for nothing, AOC!” The 29-year-old congresswoman said it proves the effectiveness of the progressive movement she’s become a symbol of.
“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 Thursday morning on Twitter.
She followed that up with subsequent tweets about the JCN being funded by the Mercer Family Foundation and corporate executives, and likening it to a scene in the NBC show “The Office” where “Michael Scott points to the Bubba Gump and saying ‘This is it, this is the heart of civilization, right here.'”
The Mercer Family Foundation has invested tens of millions of dollars into a range of conservative causes over the last decade and was a financial backer of Donald Trump in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign. The Job Creators Network, which was founded by Home Depot co-founder and billionaire Bernie Marcus, has reportedly advocated against minimum wage increases, partnered with Newt Gingrich to focus Congress’ attention on tax cuts in 2017 and pushed to repeal the Affordable Care Act, an effort that was defeated.
In its decision to leave New York, Amazon specifically mentioned attacks by Ocasio-Cortez, as well as other lawmakers, saying they had made it a hostile environment to do business.
“If you talk to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, it’s ‘Never Amazon,'” Jodi Seth, the head of policy communications for Amazon, told NBC News in an interview earlier this month. “If you talk to [New York City Councilman Jimmy] Van Bramer, it’s unions.”
Seth added that “it wasn’t any one incident” that drove the Seattle-based tech giant to its decision, adding that the virulent political discourse that occurred over the past three months was what led to the decision.
“It was that the environment over the course of the past three months had not got any better. There were some local and state elected officials who refused to meet with Amazon and criticized us day in and day out about the plan,” she said in the interview.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo criticized Ocasio-Cortez and other local politicians who opposed the Amazon deal as putting their own interests above regular New Yorkers.
“[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,” Cuomo said in a statement earlier this month. “The New York State Senate has done tremendous damage. They should be held accountable for this lost economic opportunity.”
Amazon, which currently employs 8,000 people in the state, according to NBC, said it would disperse the 25,000 jobs throughout its 17 corporate offices and tech hubs in the U.S. and Canada, including some in New York. However, Seth added that Amazon does not intend to re-open talks with New York lawmakers and does not intend to find another headquarters for the jobs.
In addition to the 25,000 jobs, Amazon would’ve brought $2.5 billion in investment and eventually 8 million square feet of office space to Long Island City as part of the deal announced last November. Amazon also said it would have generated “incremental tax revenue of more than $10 billion over the next 20 years as a result of [its] investment and job creation.”
The Jeff Bezos-led company Amazon said it would proceed as planned with the second part of its HQ2, which will be built in Northern Virginia, as well as its operations center that it said it would open in Nashville.
Fox News’ Christopher Carbone contributed to this story.
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