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De Blasio on presidential run after Amazon decision: 'I have not ruled it out'

The New York City mayor also told "Meet The Press" host Chuck Todd that Amazon's move backing out of its plan for Long Island City, Queens, was an "abuse of corporate power."

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio at

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio at City Hall on Feb. 7. Photo Credit: Corey Sipkin

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday that he was not ruling out a presidential bid next year, while calling out Amazon for its "arbitrary" decision to back out of a deal to construct a corporate campus in Queens amid local pressure from activists and politicians.

The second-term Democrat told "Meet The Press" host Chuck Todd of joining a growing field of presidential contenders, "I have not ruled it out."

Amazon's decision to back out of the Long Island City plan was announced Thursday. Officials asserted that the deal would have brought 25,000 jobs and $27 billion in revenue. The company was offered a tax incentive package of nearly $3 billion.

"But the bottom line is: This is an example of an abuse of corporate power. They had an agreement with the people of New York City," de Blasio said. "Amazon just took their ball and went home. And what they did was confirm people's worst fears about corporate America. Here's the 1 percent dictating to everyone else, even though we gave them a fair deal. And I think it's going to frustrate people all over this country to see a company treat a neighborhood and a city like that."

The company on Thursday issued a statement explaining its decision to withdraw: "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."

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a fellow Democrat, and de Blasio negotiated the incentives package and announced the Amazon deal last November. Progressives objected to the terms of the deal and criticized the company as anti-union, saying it was trying to steamroll the local community.

Cuomo and others — including Long Island's elected officials — said the decision to back out was a huge blow to the region's economy and would hurt future efforts to attract tech companies to New York.

"They said they wanted a partnership, but the minute there were criticisms, they walked away. What does that say to working people that a company would leave them high and dry, simply because some people raised criticisms," de Blasio said. "They couldn't handle the heat in the kitchen, is what it looks like."

"Obviously, a group of very powerful people — the ultimate members of the 1 percent — got together in a boardroom in Seattle and made a very arbitrary decision. We couldn't have seen that coming," he said.

"The progressive movement needs to be about equality, but also about opportunity," he said.

Todd had asked de Blasio if he would take his message nationally and run for president. De Blasio said, "I have not ruled it out, but I'm going to take this message nationally any way you slice it." 

De Blasio had planned a nongovernmental trip to the key presidential state of New Hampshire last week but canceled the visit after the death of NYPD Det. Brian Simonsen.

Asked if Amazon's withdrawal could hurt his presidential chances, de Blasio said, "I don't think anything about the Amazon decision affects the bigger debate in this country about the fact if we don't address this income inequality, our country's security and stability is threatened. I'm going to be talking about that all over this nation."


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