By Gothamist |
De Blasio Implies Jeff Bezos's Affair Derailed Amazon Deal: 'There Was Clearly Some Unusual Factors': Gothamist
It's now been a month since Amazon walked away from a deal to build a corporate campus in New York City. Since then, blame-game billboards have been erected, public officials have publicly humiliated themselves, and there have been numerous postmortems on the many reasons why the deal ultimately collapsed without any real attempt on Amazon's part to negotiate. But today, Mayor Bill de Blasio suggested a different reason—that heretofore had not been mentioned by anyone!—as to why Amazon got cold feet. And all he's sayin' is, it may or may not have a little something to do with the "unusual" circumstances around Jeff Bezos's personal life.
De Blasio appeared live on MSNBC's Morning Joe to talk about everything from the New Zealand terror attack to Hudson Yards to his apparently irrepressible presidential ambitions. The topic of Amazon of course came up, which led to de Blasio broadly hinting that Bezos’ affair with news anchor Lauren Sanchez (and the attempted blackmailing) played a role in scuttling the deal.
Below you'll find excerpts from the conversation featuring de Blasio, Noah Rothman and Willie Geist:
Rothman: So why is the failure of Amazon not indicative of the social democratic view towards capitalism?
Mayor: Because Amazon made an arbitrary decision. We had - look, I think we all know -
Rothman: They were urged there by some of your [inaudible] -
Mayor: We know - absolutely disagree with that statement, respectfully. First, I think we could all say that unusual things were happening within the Amazon family at that moment in time and that was said politely. There was clearly some unusual factors happening. We know who the ultimate decision [inaudible] -
Rothman: You think his affair had something -
Mayor: I only am saying it was an unusual environment.
"A deal was struck, deal was moving forward," de Blasio continued. "In the end, anyone around this table, if you are having a problem with the deal, we had announced publicly you would've picked up the phone and said, we have some things to work through here and we would have worked in through. You would not have called out of nowhere and said we're out of this." Perish the thought that Amazon unilaterally decided that dealing with negative public perception was too much of a headache, it must have been the affair!
De Blasio seemed to realize his fumbling, indirect attempts at doing the old wink-wink, nudge-nudge about the REAL reasons behind the deal falling through were not quite going as he intended, as he tried to deflect when he got called out by Geist and the other panel members (including Susan Del Percio and Danny Deutsch):
Geist: Mr. Mayor, you floated something out that we've got to pin you down on - you believe Jeff Bezos’ affair somehow -
Mayor: No, I didn’t say that. I said it was an unusual environment meaning there are a lot of cross pressures. There was a lot of things going on -
Geist: Like what?
Mayor: I - again, you're going to figure out yourself.
Geist: I think I have figured it out. I'm trying to figure out if the relationship -
Del Percio: But if it’s a fact-based discussion, what are the facts that support that -
Deutsch: Are you saying he [inaudible] bright lights of New York City going on while his affair was happening?
Mayor: The facts are a decision was made very arbitrarily. We had an agreement. The agreement was moving forward and suddenly it wasn't. That's all I'm saying.
De Blasio may have thought he was out of the woods at this point. He wasn't:
Geist: I just want to get to one more thing so - but I just want to nail down one more time. You believe that part of the reason perhaps this deal unraveled is because of what was happening internally at Amazon -
Mayor: There was a lot of turmoil. There was a lot of turmoil, let's just put it in -
Geist: The turmoil was an affair [inaudible] -
Mayor: [Inaudible] over many things, and a decision was made in a very arbitrary fashion.
Deutsch: But Mr. Mayor, you clearly are suggesting that, when you're suggest -
Mayor: I’ve just said what I've said.
LISTEN GEIST, I'M JUST STRONGLY INSINUATING A COMPLETELY UNSUBSTANTIATED CLAIM ABOUT SOMEONE'S PERSONAL LIFE AFFECTING A MAJOR BUSINESS DECISION WHILE IGNORING THE VERY WELL-DOCUMENTED REASONS WHY LOCALS, ACTIVISTS AND SOME LOCAL POLITICIANS WERE UNEASY WITH THE DEAL AS IT STOOD, WHY DO YOU KEEP BRINGING THIS UP???
De Blasio's appearance today came before a weekend trip to New Hampshire, as he continues to explore a possible bid to join the growing mob of 2020 Democratic candidates for president. As one former aide told Politico, the idea of a de Blasio candidacy is "fucking insane."
Then again... "Anytime a politician name checks Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina in the same interview, we have to consider the possibility that he's running for president," Geist said at the end of the MSNBC interview. "You know, you are a deep and insightful man," de Blasio responded.
On the plus side, de Blasio is still in first place among presidential candidates New Yorkers absolutely don't want to run for president.