Home Depot founder Ken Langone – who said he’s worried about the populist appeal of Sen. Rand Paul and Sen. Ted Cruz in the 2016 presidential race -- has partially apologized for comparing the effort to reduce the income gap to Nazi Germany.
The home improvement chain is headquartered in Smyrna.
Langone made the initial comment in a Politico story published Tuesday, saying of populist rhetoric against the wealthy: “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.”
The billionaire, in a statement shared with the New York Daily News, offered a somewhat-tempered apology, saying that he apologizes "if my choice of words was inappropriate."
"My remarks were intended to discourage pitting one group against another group in a society," he said. "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."
Langone, a big GOP donor and prominent backer of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), once criticized the Pope and also siad he hoped former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer's "private hell is hotter than anybody else's," says the Huffington Post.
Langone is the second wealthy businessman in recent weeks to compare the income inequality battle to Nazi Germany, reports The Washington Post. Venture capitalist Tom Perkins has called the effort a "progressive Kristallnacht."
He has so far stood by his comment, also saying wealthy people should get more votes.