- Billionaire financier Ken Langone, who played a crucial role in funding Home Depot’s meteoric rise, blasted Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday.
- Langone told Business Insider that he won’t apologize “for winning by playing by the rules.”
- In a Fox Business appearance on Wednesday, Langone called the Democratic presidential candidate a “blowhard” for saying that billionaires shouldn’t exist in the United States.
- According to Forbes, the venture capitalist is worth an estimated $3.9 billion.
- “Mr. Langone isn’t speaking on behalf of the company and retired from The Home Depot’s Board of Directors more than a decade ago,” a Home Depot spokesperson said in a statement to Business Insider.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Billionaire financier Ken Langone railed against Sen. Bernie Sanders while speaking to Business Insider on Thursday.
His comments followed an appearance on Fox Business on Wednesday, in which he called the Democratic presidential candidate a “blowhard” for arguing that billionaires shouldn’t exist in the United States.
Sanders has long criticized growing inequality in the United States and called for higher taxes on the wealthy and large corporations. And, according to Forbes, Langone is worth an estimated $3.9 billion. He has also long been considered a Republican megadonor.
But the venture capitalist, whose firm Invemed helped bankroll Home Depot in 1978, says that he has created jobs and improved lives while accruing his fortune.
“Forget how much money I made,” Langone told Business Insider. He said that by helping to found Home Depot, Langone ensured that “more than 500,000 people” have been “gainfully employed, providing for their families, enjoying life, educating their kids” throughout the years.
“Mr. Langone isn’t speaking on behalf of the company and retired from The Home Depot’s Board of Directors more than a decade ago,” a Home Depot spokesperson said in a statement to Business Insider.
“Bernie, tell me what you did?” Langone said. “You’re the big authority. You know this problem, you know that problem. Help me out, Bernie, show me that what you did worked.”
On Fox Business, Langone repeated his claim that 3,000 entry-level Home Depot employees have gone on to become multi-millionaires. He told Business Insider that these employees were able to achieve this success after working at the company for “a number of years.”
“I’m not saying they were hired yesterday,” Langone said. “It takes a period of time — and don’t forget, in the meantime, they’re building their estates, they’re being paid and they’re paying their bills and they’re feeding their families.”
Sanders’ campaign website centers the 2020 presidential candidate’s job creation plan around infrastructure jobs, small businesses, and youth employment. Speaking to Business Insider, Langone characterized the field of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates as “giving away the world.”
This isn’t the first time that one of Home Depot’s original movers and shakers has sowed political controversy. Cofounder Bernie Marcus sparked an online backlash when he recently told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he planned to donate to President Donald Trump’s 2020 reelection bid. Marcus is another outspoken conservative figure, appearing once on Fox News to argue that Democratic politicians “don’t have any brains” for failing to support Trump’s tax plan.
When asked about how he would respond to objections that, as a billionaire, his criticism of Sanders is self-serving, Langone cited his $300 million donation to scholarship students at New York University and the 38 students on scholarship he is funding at Bucknell University.
He went on to say that he won’t apologize “for winning by playing by the rules.”
“I pay my taxes,” he said. “We honor all of the regulations that are enforced that we have to live with — even though I think some of them are foolish, we still honor them. We provide our employees with a great work environment and career path opportunities. Anytime somebody wants to criticize me, that’s their right. I’m only going to ask them, tell me what you’ve done, show me what you’ve done for somebody else.”