Entrepreneur Andrew Yang took aim at Amazon during Wednesday’s Democratic primary debate on CNN, blaming the online retail giant for mass closures of America’s stores and malls.
“Raise your hand in the crowd if you’ve seen stores closing where you live,” Yang said during the debate in Detroit. “It is not just you. Amazon is closing 30% of America’s stores and malls.”
He added that Amazon was “paying zero in taxes while doing it.”
The Democratic candidate then reiterated a common refrain from his campaign, saying that the “opposite of Donald Trump is an Asian man who likes math.” He said that if he wins the presidency, he would promise every American adult $1,000 a month.
Yang’s attack on the company — whose founder, Jeff Bezos, also owns the Washington Post — was met with enthusiastic applause from the audience at the Fox Theatre.
But CNN fact checkers noted that Yang’s claims was not entirely true. “Yang is right that up to 30% of malls may close in the next few years, but that’s not all because of Amazon,” the network noted. Brick-and-mortar retailers have suffered from overcapacity and a number of big-box retailers, like Toys ‘R’ Us, have gone under.
Amazon paid no federal income tax in 2018 on profits of more than $11 billion.
President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized Amazon and Bezos, calling the billionaire “Jeff Bozo.” The president has also dubbed The Washington Post as “Amazon Washington Post.”
During Wednesday’s debate, Yang also warned that increased automation is a leading factor in the loss of manufacturing jobs.
“If you go to a factory here in Michigan, you will not find wall-to-wall immigrants, you will find wall-to-wall robots and machines,” the candidate said.