White House hits back at Jeff Bezos, saying it's 'not surprising' he thinks oil and gas companies should 'reap record profits at the expense of the American people'

·2 min read
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos speaks during his news conference at the National Press Club in Washington, Sept. 19, 2019.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos speaks during his news conference at the National Press Club in Washington, Sept. 19, 2019.Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File/Associated Press
  • Jeff Bezos and the White House traded insults over high gas prices in the US.

  • Bezos accused Biden of "misdirection or a deep misunderstanding of basic market dynamics."

  • The White House dismissed him in what was just the latest feud between Biden and Bezos on inflation.

The White House criticized Jeff Bezos after the billionaire Amazon founder accused President Joe Biden of missing the mark on why gas prices are high.

Biden sent a tweet on Saturday suggesting gas sellers were taking advantage of the war in Ukraine by setting unnecessarily high gas prices.

"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," Biden said. "Bring down the price you are charging at the pump to reflect the cost you're paying for the product. And do it now."

Bezos responded critically to the president, writing in a retweet: "Ouch. Inflation is far too important a problem for the White House to keep making statements like this. It's either straight ahead misdirection or a deep misunderstanding of basic market dynamics."

But White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre doubled down on Biden's statements.

"Oil prices have dropped by about $15 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," she wrote in a tweet.

She also went a step further and criticized Bezos directly: "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."

Another White House official also came to the president's defense. John Kirby, the National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications, said on Fox News Sunday that Bezos was wrong and that Biden "tells exactly what he's thinking in terms that everybody can understand."

Biden has blamed Russia's war in Ukraine and oil and gas companies for record inflation in the US and high energy costs.

Last month, the president blasted Exxon Mobil for making "more money than God this year" while Americans pay record-high prices at the pump. He also met with oil company CEOs to encourage them to do more to lower gas prices.

Bezos has sparred with the White House on inflation on multiple occasions. In May, after Biden said ensuring corporations pay their fair share of taxes could combat inflation, Bezos also called it "misdirection."

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