Amazon being pushed out of NYC by Ocasio-Cortez was 'disgraceful,' says billionaire Leon Cooperman

  • "What happened in New York with the movement led by AOC is disgraceful and wrong," Leon Cooperman tells CNBC's Leslie Picker.
  • "We have to make sure the country does not move to the left."
Leon Cooperman on CNBC's "Halftime Report."
Scott Mlyn | CNBC
Leon Cooperman on CNBC's "Halftime Report."

Leon Cooperman, a billionaire investor and the founder of Omega Advisors, is worried the U.S. may be steering too far left, especially after Amazon opted against opening a second headquarters in New York City.

"What happened in New York with the movement led by AOC is disgraceful and wrong," Cooperman, who was born in the Bronx, told CNBC's Leslie Picker from the Forbes SHOOK Top Advisor Summit on Tuesday. AOC refers to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY. "We have to make sure the country does not move to the left."

Earlier this month, Amazon scrapped its plans to open its so-called HQ2 amid opposition from local leaders. The opposition mainly revolved around the nearly $3 billion in incentives the city and state promised Amazon if the multibillion-dollar company set up shop in Long Island City, a neighborhood in Queens.

One of those opponents was Ocasio-Cortez. In November, Ocasio-Cortez said in a series of tweets: "Amazon is a billion-dollar company. The idea that it will receive hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks at a time when our subway is crumbling and our communities need MORE investment, not less, is extremely concerning to residents here."

Cooperman's comments come as the issue of wealth inequality gains steam at a national level. Several lawmakers, including presidential hopefuls Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, are pushing for higher taxes on the wealthy.

"What we have is a bunch of candidates running on the Democratic ticket that are left-leaning, and that's, in my opinion, very counterproductive and destructive," said Cooperman, who has signed The Giving Pledge, meaning he agreed to donate most of his wealth to charitable causes.

Subscribe to CNBC on YouTube.

Correction: A previous version of this story mistakenly said Ocasio-Cortez's district included Long Island City.