Updated below with White House response.
Jeff Bezos called out President Joe Biden for telling gas station owners to lower prices — saying the president’s statement was “either straight ahead misdirection or a deep misunderstanding of basic market dynamics.”
The tweet by the Amazon founder called inflation “far too important a problem for the White House to keep making statements like this.”
The salvo promises to revive a debate that started between Bezos and Biden in May.
Bezos sent the tweet on Saturday evening, in response to a message posted on President Biden’s Twitter account earlier in the day, calling on gas station owners to bring down their prices to reflect their costs.
It’s the latest example of Bezos becoming increasingly vocal on Twitter, a platform that rival billionaire Elon Musk may end up acquiring.
Bezos’ tweets have traditionally gone through the communications team at Amazon, but the evening tweet on a holiday weekend is the latest indication that he may be freestyling on social media in some instances, as well.
Bezos stepped down as Amazon CEO last year but remains executive chairman.
Jay Carney, Amazon’s senior vice president for global corporate affairs, was director of communications for then-Vice President Biden before becoming White House press secretary for President Obama from 2011 to 2014.
Despite that history, the relationship between the Biden administration and Amazon has been strained, as exemplified by the president hosting Amazon union leader Christian Smalls in the Oval Office in May. Biden also singled out Amazon in April while emphasizing the rights of workers to unionize, saying, “By the way, Amazon here we come.”
The Wall Street Journal reported in March that Carney “has sent a series of frustrated messages to White House chief of staff Ron Klain about perceived slights against Amazon,” citing anonymous people familiar with the messages.
The spat over inflation started in mid-May, when Biden tweeted, “You want to bring down inflation? Let’s make sure the wealthiest corporations pay their fair share.”
Bezos tweeted in response, “The newly created Disinformation Board should review this tweet, or maybe they need to form a new Non Sequitur Board instead. Raising corp taxes is fine to discuss. Taming inflation is critical to discuss. Mushing them together is just misdirection.”
After the White House attributed Bezos’ criticism to his status as “one of the wealthiest individuals on Earth,” and to Biden’s support of Amazon union organizers, Bezos again called out the White House for misdirection.
Update: Karine Jean-Pierre, White House press secretary, responded Sunday morning.
And then this zinger …