The White House and Jeff Bezos have renewed their spat over Joe Biden’s handling of high inflation as the Amazon founder slammed the US president for calling on companies to cut prices at gas stations.
Saturday, Biden tweeted a demand that companies running gas pumps reduce soaring fuel prices in “times of war and global peril.”
“Reduce the price you charge at the pump to reflect the cost you pay for the product. And do it now,” he wrote.
Later that day, Bezos tweeted in response that inflation was “far too big an issue for the White House to continue making statements like this.”
“It’s either direct misdirection or a deep misunderstanding of basic market dynamics,” the world’s third-richest person said.
The next day, Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, fired back on Twitter that oil prices had fallen about $15 over the past month as prices at gas pumps had “to barely” dropped, adding that it was a sign that the market was “failing the American consumer”.
She added: “But I guess it’s no surprise 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. ”
This isn’t the first pointed exchange between Bezos and the White House. In May, the billionaire lashed out at the Biden administration over the failure of the Build Back Better bill, which he said could exacerbate inflation.
The proposed legislation aimed to raise taxes for wealthy individuals and large corporations to help fund spending on education, childcare and climate change programs.
The sharp price hike, which Biden blamed primarily on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, has become a hot topic in US politics ahead of the midterm elections in November.
It has also heightened tensions between US companies and some Democratic lawmakers, who have accused the companies of inflating prices. But most economists say several factors have contributed to inflationary pressures, including a post-pandemic rebound, bottlenecks in supply chains and government stimulus measures generating strong demand, as well as the war in Ukraine. .
The public spat between Bezos and the White House comes as the businessman steps up his previously rare use of Twitter after stepping down as chief executive of Amazon last year.
John Kirby, strategic communications coordinator for the National Security Council, said he “greatly opposed” accusations of misdirection when asked about Bezos’ tweet on Fox News on Sunday.
Kirby added that the president spoke honestly about efforts to lower prices at the pump, including releasing 1 million barrels of oil from the country’s strategic reserves.
Kirby added that prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Biden made it clear that supporting Kyiv would not be “free for the American people.”