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Home Depot Co-Founder Apologizes for Nazi Comment

Kenneth Langone, the billionaire co-founder of The Home Depot, ignited an uproar Tuesday by comparing populist appeals targeting income inequality to arguments made by Nazis in pre-war Germany.

Langone made the remark when asked how the rich view the political arguments made by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and other liberals.

“I hope it’s not working,” Langone said. “Because if you go back to 1933, with different words, this is what Hitler was saying. You don’t survive as a society if you encourage and thrive on envy or jealousy.”

Eleven hours later, Langone backpedaled.

“My remarks were intended to discourage pitting one group against another group,” 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.”

A coalition of liberal activists sent a letter to New York Mayor Andrew Cuomo calling on him to not only reject Langone’s comments, but also return his donations.

At day’s end, Cuomo spokesman Matt Wing said, “He apologized for using inappropriate words.”

De Blasio, a self-styled progressive who has locked horns with Cuomo for wanting to increase taxes on the wealthy to fund expanded prekindergarten and afterschool programs, demurred when asked if the governor should have chastised Langone.

“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,” the mayor said.

About Amanda Bell

Amanda Bell was an assistant editor of Hardware Retailing and NRHA. Amanda regularly visited with home improvement retailers across the country and attended industry events and seminars. She earned a degree in magazine journalism from Ball State University and has received honors for her work for Hardware Retailing from the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals.

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