Ken Langone, one of Home Depot’s three billionaire cofounders and a major Republican donor, said he feels “betrayed” by President Trump because he denied the presidential election results, and that led to a violent insurrection in the U.S. Capitol last week.
“Last Wednesday was a disgrace and should never have happened in this country, and if it doesn’t break every American’s heart, something’s wrong,” Langone told CNBC on Wednesday morning. “It breaks my heart. I didn’t sign up for that.”
As Congress gets ready to vote on impeaching Trump for a second time, the 85-year-old investor added that any effort to rationalize the violence and the president’s actions would be a big mistake. He didn’t explicitly say whether he thinks Trump should be impeached, however.
“Going through the court system to try and get some results, [Trump] exhausted everything. It was over. Biden is the president, Biden should be in the White House,” he said. “I’m going to do everything I can from Day One to make sure I do my part to make Joe Biden the most successful president in the history of this country,” he added, emphasizing the devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the country’s economy as well as the state of the public education system and infrastructure.
While Langone personally did not make any direct contributions to the Trump campaign during the 2020 presidential election cycle, he has donated more than $2.4 million to Republican organizations since 2019, including to the Senate Leadership Fund and Americans For Prosperity Action, a political action committee that supports Republican candidates across the country. (His wife Elaine contributed $5,000 to Trump’s reelection efforts in 2017.) Langone has been a vocal supporter of the Republican Party and a major critic of former presidential hopeful Senator Bernie Sanders, who has argued that the U.S. should not have billionaires. Langone, who Forbes estimates is worth $4.9 billion, has pushed back against the claims of the Vermont senator, a self-described democratic socialist.
The grandson of Italian immigrants in New York, Langone refers to himself as a living example of the American Dream. He dug ditches for the Long Island Expressway before he went to Bucknell University to study economics. He made a name on Wall Street after handling Ross Perot Sr.’s Electronic Data Systems’ IPO in 1968. A decade later, he made an early investment in Home Depot and cofounded the now $110.2 billion (2019 revenues) business with Arthur Blank and Bernie Marcus. He has since retired from his position as a director of the company and is mostly focused on philanthropy. He has pledged more than $300 million to New York University’s medical center and School of Medicine, and has helped the school become tuition-free.
“The system is not great,” Langone told Forbes in 2018, shortly before the debut of his New York Times bestselling memoir and personal ode to the American Dream, I Love Capitalism! “But it’s the only one that works. I look at America and say, ‘How wonderful!’”