Jeff Bezos gave CNN commentator Anthony “Van” Jones and celebrity chef José Andrés $100 million each for the charities of their choice.
In the moments after his successful Blue Origin rocket launch on Tuesday, Bezos — who is presently worth nearly $204 billion — revealed the creation of a new charity initiative.
Fox Business reports:
In a surprise at the end of a media conference following his successful trip to sub-orbital space, the Amazon and Blue Origin founder unveiled his new “Courage and Civility Award,” which he said “recognizes leaders who aim high and who pursue solutions with courage and who always do so with civility.” Recipients receive $100 million to give away to charities or non-profits of their choice, and Bezos said awardees may direct all the funds to their own non-profits or “spread the wealth” to other organizations.
At his announcement, Bezos called Jones on stage, honoring the criminal justice reform advocate and Dream Corps founder as the first awardee.
“Sometimes dreams come true,” Jones said as he addressed the crowd in an emotional acceptance speech. He added, “If this small group of people can make miracles happen in outer space, a bigger group of people can make miracles happen down here, and we’re going to do it.”
Despite Bezos’ assertion that Van Jones pursues solutions with civility, the commentator famously alleged that Donald Trump’s electoral win in 2016 was a “whitelash” against a “changing country.”
People have talked about a miracle. I’m hearing about a nightmare. It’s hard to be a parent tonight for a lot of us. You tell your kids, ‘Don’t be a bully.’ You tell your kids, ‘Don’t be a bigot.’ You tell your kids, ‘Do your homework, and be prepared.’ And then you have this outcome and you have people putting children to bed tonight, and they’re afraid of breakfast. They’re afraid of, ‘How do I explain this to my children?’ I have Muslim friends who are texting me tonight, saying, ‘Should I leave the country?’ I have families of immigrants that are terrified tonight.
We’ve talked about everything but race tonight. We’ve talked about income, we’ve talked about class, we’ve talked about region. We haven’t talked about race. This was a whitelash. This was a whitelash against a changing country. This was a whitelash against a black president, in part. And that’s the part where the pain comes.
Bezos routinely draws the ire of progressives.
In May 2021, the “Patriotic Millionaires” — a coalition of Americans with incomes over $1 million or assets over $5 million — protested in front of Bezos’ homes in New York and Washington. Reflecting Suozzi’s “Patriot Tax” proposal, the group argues that wealthy Americans have a duty to give more of their incomes to the federal government.
“Tax the rich. Save America. Yes, it really is that simple,” reads their billboard targeting Bezos, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
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