Bezos slams Biden’s call to cut gas prices
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has slammed President Biden for blaming sky-high prices at the pump on gas station companies — accusing the commander-in-chief of either employing “misdirection” or of displaying a “deep misunderstanding” of economic fundamentals.
In a tweet on Saturday, Biden wrote: “My message to the companies running gas stations and setting prices at the pump is simple: this is a time of war and global peril.”
“Bring down the price you are charging at the pump to reflect the cost you’re paying for the product,” the president continued. “And do it now.”
Bezos, the second richest person in the country, blasted Biden’s message in a response on Twitter later Saturday.
“Ouch. Inflation is far too important a problem for the White House to keep making statements like this,” posted Bezos, owner of the Washington Post.
“It’s either straight ahead misdirection or a deep misunderstanding of basic market dynamics.”
The Biden administration fired back at the criticism on Sunday.
“Oil prices have dropped by about $15 [a barrel] over the past month, but prices at the pump have barely come down. That’s not ‘basic market dynamics.’ It’s a market that is failing the American consumer,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre tweeted.
“But I guess it’s not surprising that you think oil and gas companies using market power to reap record profits at the expense of the American people is the way our economy is supposed to work,” she added.
In an interview on Fox News, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby also took issue with Bezos’ claim that Biden might be deliberately trying to mislead.
“We obviously take great exception at the idea that this is somehow misdirection,” Kirby said. “The president is working very very hard across many fronts to try to bring that price down.”
The back-and-forth comes as Americans have been facing steep prices at the pump amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and skyrocketing inflation.
Gas prices in the US reached record levels this year. The average cost of a gallon of regular gas hit $4.81 Sunday, according to AAA, compared to $3.12 a year ago.
Prices could soar even more — and to “apocalyptic” heights — if hurricane season causes significant disruptions for US oil refiners, an industry expert warned last month.
The Biden administration has tried to pin much of the blame on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war, while also pointing the finger at oil companies, accusing them of artificially restricting supply by refusing to drill on leasing sites approved by the federal government.
Biden told reporters on Thursday that US drivers would have to shell out the big bucks for “as long as it takes” for Ukraine to defeat Russia’s invasion.
National Economic Council director Brian Deese, also on Thursday, said Americans would have to endure pain at the pump indefinitely in the name of the “liberal world order.”
“What you heard from the president today was a clear articulation of the stakes,” Deese said during an appearance on CNN when asked about families who can’t afford the high costs per-gallon. “This is about the future of the liberal world order and we have to stand firm.
“But at the same time, what I’d say to that family and to Americans across the country is you have a president, an administration that is going to do everything in its power to blunt those price increases and bring those prices down,” Deese added.
The exchange with Bezos wasn’t the first time Biden and an outspoken American billionaire engaged in a war of words.
In early June, it was revealed that billionaire Elon Musk has such a “super bad feeling” about the US economy under Biden that he planned to lay off about 10% of the workers at Tesla, his electric car company.
Biden reacted to Musk’s view by taking a shot at the businessman and his company SpaceX.
“Lots of luck on his trip to the moon,” Biden said.
That prompted Musk to fire back on Twitter with a link to a 2021 NASA press release about SpaceX winning a $2.89 billion contract to send the next American astronauts to the moon.