De Blasio shrugs off Langone’s Hitler comparison

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Ken Langone. (AP Photo/Shiho Fukada)
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Mayor Bill de Blasio called billionaire businessman Ken Langone's comments comparing him to Hitler "over the top to say the least."

De Blasio also declined to criticize Governor Andrew Cuomo, whom he is at odds with over universal pre-kindergarten, for refusing to address the remarks in a Politico article made by Langone, co-founder of Home Depot and a chairman of "Republicans for Cuomo."

"I think every leader reserves the right to speak to some issues and not speak to others," de Blasio told reporters during a City Hall press conference related to his after-school expansion plans. "And 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."

Langone was criticizing de Blasio's plan to tax the highest earners to implement universal pre-K when he likened the mayor to the Nazis.

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"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," Langone said.

De Blasio used the opportunity to reiterate his stump speech about the city's growing income gap.

"Let's face it. If you're focused on fighting inequality some people are not going to like that and that's not a surprise to me, but I'm convinced the people of this city understand we can't continue on the path we're on," he said.

After repeating his standard anti-poverty rhetoric, he said, "Maybe some other people prefer the status quo. I don't."

Cuomo has yet to address Langone's comments. 

Langone has since apologized.