Ken Langone has apologised for his comments that compared efforts in the United States to reduce income inequality to Nazi Germany.
Home Depot’s co-founder made the questionable remarks during an interview with Politico. Langone was analysing the political trends of 2016 and was looking to warn readers against the negative tone towards the wealthy.
Langone, a billionaire who donates huge amounts of money to the GOP, stated, “I hope it’s not working. Because if you go back to 1933, with different words, this is what Hitler was saying in Germany. You don’t survive as a society if you encourage and thrive on envy or jealousy.”
As you would expect, people soon criticised Langone for his remarks, and this has now seen him release an apology.
“My remarks were intended to discourage pitting one group against another group in a society,” he noted. “If my choice of words was inappropriate — and they well may have been that — I extend my profound apologies to anyone and everyone who I may have offended.”
Some critics had suggested that the current Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, should have returned money donated to him by Langone because of these comments. However, instead Cuomo remained quiet up until his spokesman, Matt Wing, simply lead reporters to Langone’s apology after it had been released.
Bill de Blaso, the current mayor of New York, said that Langone’s original remarks were “over the top,” but noted that he actually supports the business man’s view.
“At a certain point some comments are just hard to take on face value,” de Blaso told NY Daily News’ Annie Karni. “I respect people have different viewpoints. I pride myself with being able to work with a wide range of people. but let’s face it– if you’re focused on fighting inequality, some people are not going to like that. I’m convinced that people of the city understand we can’t continue on that path for long….Maybe some other people prefer the status quo. I don’t.”
De Blaso also defended Cuomo’s decision not to respond, stating, “I think every leader reserves the right to speak to some issues and not speak to others. Again, I think the comment was obviously over the top to say the least, so I think it’s perfectly appropriate if someone doesn’t want to speak to that.”
Last June, the outspoken Langone, who according to Forbes is worth $2.1billion insisted that Edward Snowden should have been thrown a party for his actions.