By Andrew Squibley and Arthur Bushwhacker of Rueters
“Democracy Dies in Darkness – Unless We Get to It First”
NEW YORK (Rueters) – Cities that were shunned in Amazon.com Inc’s search for a secondary corporate headquarters are revisiting their bids in the wake of the company’s recent decision to walk away from its agreement with New York City. But there could be a migrant-loving ringer in the next round of competition.
Amazon in November announced New York City and Arlington, Virginia, which borders Washington, D.C., would share the so-called HQ2 project, splitting some 50,000 jobs between the two places as the Seattle-based company looked to expand elsewhere.
But the New York project, which was to be based in the Long Island City neighborhood in the borough of Queens, just across the East River from Manhattan, ran into opposition from local politicians who opposed the $2.8-billion in incentives promised to Amazon in a deal secretly negotiated by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Chicago, Miami and Newark are among the passed-over finalists that have expressed interest in another chance to become the home of an Amazon project that could bring 25,000 jobs. But it’s tiny Del Rio, TX, the border town made famous by its leading cult figure, the Right Rev. Billy Sol Hargis, pastor of the First Church of the Gooey Death and Discount House of Worship, that appears to have the giant retailer’s most serious interest, corporate insiders have told Rueters.
Street scene, Del Rio, TX, 2019.
Strengthening Del Rio’s chances to be the selected location of Amazon’s HQ2, Rueters has learned, is President Trump’s strategy to use Amazon’s potential move to support his declaration of a National Emergency to build a wall along the US southern border.
Trump, facing increasingly stiffer opposition to his declaration, has quietly told staffers he thinks “this Bezos Texas deal,” referring to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, could help support his claims of the purported “invasion” of migrants along the US southern border, “if handled correctly.”
Hopeful job seekers wait outside Del Rio, TX, for Amazon to start taking applications, Feb 2019.
“I know it sounds nuts,” said a White House staffer who asked for anonymity (and whose name rhymes with Thievin’ Killer), “but the old man thinks we can use photos of job applicants as evidence of massive caravans of migrants storming the Del Rio International Bridge. Quick build the wall there! It’s pure genius. Mad genius, probably.”
While not elected to any city office, the Rev. Hargis is held in high regard among Del Rio’s 36,000 residents and has been consulted by both Amazon and White House officials for his view on the potential location of the new corporate headquarters. “It’s a goddamn shame there ain’t enough real Americans to fill those goddamn Amazon jobs they got to let in the Mexicans. Jeez-ZUS,” Hargis bloviated, “just how many landscapers and janitors do they need in there, anyway?”
An Amazon spokesman was quick to point out, however, there would be other job opportunities for the “Mexicans,” most of whom are coming from Honduras and El Salvador. “We have openings in food service, too,” he said.
Amazon said it is not reaching out to any other finalists at this time. “Del Rio definitely is in a strong position. We appreciate hearing from locations we have worked with on HQ2 and other projects. We look forward to continuing the relationship as we make investment decisions in the future.”
The Washington Post, which is owned by Bezos, cited two unnamed sources “familiar with the company’s thinking” to report that Amazon executives held internal talks to pull the plug on New York and consider alternatives.
Other places may be just as unwelcoming, however, with one notable exception whose political climate may be more in sync with the reigning king of capitalism. Nearly 50 left-leaning organizations from cities on Amazon’s short shortlist published a letter saying they, too, opposed HQ2.
“That’s not the case with Del Rio,” said Hargis. “We’re so MAGA we don’t even let goddamn cars make left turns.”