Home Depot Billionaire Decides Maybe Not Everything Is Hitler, Maybe Apologizes

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Ken Langone, the billionaire sort-of-founder-but-really-just-founding-investor* of Home Depot, offered a"sorry if you were offended" apology Tuesday after suggesting that attempts to call attention to the income gap were exactly like what Hitler said about Jews. In yet another piece on how the rich aren't going to sit back and let themselves be genocided, Langone had told Politico that he thought all this populist rhetoric aimed at raising the minimum wage was dangerous and scary:


“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.”

We suppose maybe the actual "different words" might matter, because there really is a difference between "exterminate the Jews" and "tax the rich," even though both are imperatives comprising a verb, a definite article, and a noun.

So after the predictable firestorm of criticism -- a metaphor which callously trivializes the sufferings of those killed in the air raids on Dresden and Tokyo -- Langone offered the usual weaksauce apology that you might expect, because sorry-not-sorry, man:

"My remarks were intended to discourage pitting one group against another group in a society," Ken Langone said in a statement obtained by the New York Daily News. "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."

So he's really sorry, and could you all please just focus on the main thing, which is that the rich are wonderful people, and anything you or the Pope might say to suggest that inequality is bad will have dire consequences, like making the rich so sad that they will threaten to stop giving money to the Church. But he promises not to say Nazi anymore; he'll just stick to the classics, like "class warfare." We sure hope he won't mistake a small raise in the minimum wage for Home Depot employees for being carted off to Mme. Guillotine.

Still, he gave us the hand-wavingest gif that we've ever seen, so we have to appreciate Ken Langone for that at least.

* Wonket's own Major Major Major Major says, "please don't call him a Home Depot founder. Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank founded the company. Langone was just an investor." Noted, and added to our catalogue of Nerd Nitpicks!

[TPM]

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