On income inequality, billionaire Christie backer invokes Nazi Germany

A billionaire co-founder of Home Depot – and political patron of Gov. Christie – lashed out at politicians’ campaigning on income inequality, comparing their populist appeals to the rhetoric used by Nazi Germany.

“Because if you go back to 1933, with different words, this is what Hitler was saying in Germany,” the billionaire Ken Langone told Politico Tuesday. “You don’t survive as a society if you encourage and thrive on envy or jealousy.”

President Obama has described income inequality as the “defining challenge of our time.” Obama and Democrats in Congress are pushing for a raise in the federal minimum wage – an issue they think could boost the party’s prospects in November’s elections. Obama has also long called for higher taxes on the rich.

Populist Tea Party Republicans also have taken aim at Wall Street.

Langone urged Christie to run for president in 2012, and has remained a steadfast supporter of the New Jersey governor despite his Bridgegate troubles and declining poll numbers.

Christie visited Langone’s Florida home to mingle with donors in January, his first out-of-state trip after he fired former aides for their apparent involvement in the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal.

Assembly Democrats did not hesitate to weigh in on Langone’s comments Tuesday. “Mr. Langone's incredibly offensive and clueless remarks minimize the human tragedy of the Holocaust in an attempt to serve his own political agenda,” Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald (D., Camden) said in a statement Tuesday. “Such remarks are outrageous and disgusting. I call on Gov. Christie to join me in unequivocally condemning these remarks, which have no place in responsible public discourse.”