skirmish between Jeff Bezos and the White House on gas prices

US President Joe Biden has called on gasoline distributors to bring fuel prices down quickly. Remarks strongly criticized by the founder of Amazon.

Multi-billionaire and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said the US president was misguided in calling on gasoline distributors to lower prices quickly, prompting several White House officials to defend Joe Biden on Sunday.

“My message to companies that operate gas stations and set prices at the pump is simple: We are in a time of war and global peril,” Trump wrote on Twitter on Saturday. “Reduce the price you charge at the pump to reflect the cost you pay for the product. And do it now.”

“Attempt at diversion” or “deep misunderstanding”?

For Jeff Bezos, this reasoning is “either an attempt at diversion, or a profound misunderstanding of the basic dynamics of the market”. “Inflation is far too big an issue for the White House to continue making statements like this,” he tweeted on Saturday.

Soaring prices at the pump, which have become a symbol of the general rise in prices, weigh down the popularity of the Democratic president, who regularly criticizes the oil giants for getting rich without making efforts to solve the problem.

The latter retort that they are increasing their production and that they operate the American refineries at very high rates, but that the prices are fixed on the world market and are subject to dynamics beyond their control.

White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre came to Joe Biden’s defense on Sunday, noting on Twitter that crude prices have fallen “about $15 over the past month” but that prices at the pump “have barely come down”. “It’s not about ‘basic market dynamics.’ It’s a market that’s failing the American consumer.”

$5 per gallon of gasoline, a record

The gallon of gasoline in the United States rose above the symbolic threshold of 5 dollars per gallon in early June for the first time. It has come down a bit since then but remains far from the 3.10 dollars of a year ago.

John Kirby, who coordinates White House communication on strategic issues, defended Joe Biden’s position in an interview on Fox on Sunday.

“The president is working very, very hard, on several fronts (…) to try to reduce prices” at the pump, he assured before mentioning, among other things, his proposal to suspend the federal tax on gasoline. during the summer – which must be accepted by Congress, or the decision to draw heavily on strategic oil reserves.

“He knows it won’t solve all the problems, but it will help if everyone cooperates, and we could bring the price down at least about $1 a gallon,” he added.

Jeanne Bulant with AFP BFMTV journalist

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