Perkins: I Regret Using the Word Kristallnacht

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Jan. 27 (Bloomberg) –- In an exclusive interview, Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers Co-Founder Tom Perkins discusses his comments comparing the treatment of wealthy Americans to the persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany. He speaks exclusively with Emily Chang on Bloomberg Television’s “Bloomberg West.” (Source: Bloomberg)

Do you regret this comparison?


I talked to the head of the anti-defamation league this morning, following up on a letter that i sent over the weekend, apologizing.

There were some terrible words chosen.

I, like many, have tried to understand the 20th century, and the incomprehensible evil of the holocaust.

It it cannot be explained.

Even to try to explain it, is questionable.

It was evil.

I use the word because, during the occupy of san francisco by the occupy wall street crowd, they broke the windows in the wells fargo bank.

They marched up through our automobile strip.

They broke all of the windows in all of the luxury car dealerships.

I saw that.

I remember that the police just stood by.

I thought, this is how that began.

That word was in my mind.

But i don't need to read from that letter.

If you're interested, i can.

Sure, go ahead.

I deeply apologized in this letter that i wrote to the anti-defamation league.

Id please apologize to you and anyone who has mistaken my remarks as anti-semitism.

This is not the case.

My late partner was from austria and fought in the u.s. army.

We became the deepest of friends during our long association, and he taught me " never imagine that the unimaginable cannot become real." he was never comfortable with the extreme political currents in america.

He never took our demonization for granted.

He would have understand my letter and would have agreed.

And then i apologized for using that reference, as i said before.

And i had a discussion with abe before he came here.

I hope that, at least that part, is put to rest.

30,000 people put in concentration camps.

War you going for in that analogy -- what were you going for him that analogy?

The jewish people were only one percent of the german population.

Most germans had never met a jewish person.

And yet, hitler was able to demonize the jewish people.

And that was one of the earlier manifestations.

And there'd been many before.

And of course, we know about the evil of the holocaust.

I guess my point was that when you start using hatred against the minority, it can get out of control.

I think that that was my thought here.

Now that as the messenger i have been thoroughly killed by everybody, at least read it.

You mentioned the word threatened -- hatred, do you feel threatened?

I do not feel threatened.

But i do believe that the creative one percent are threatened.

Al gore tells me that inequality is the number one problem in america.

I am friends with jerry brown.

I voted for him.

I will vote for him even though he reads my taxes 30%. he tells me the number one problem in america is inequality.

And that's probably and possibly true.

And i think president obama is going to make that point tomorrow night.

But the one percent are not causing the inequality.

They are the job creators.

In silicon valley, i think our company is created one million jobs.

And we're still doing it.

It is absurd to demonize the rich.

And do that for being rich and doing what the rich do, which is by getting richer by grading opportunity for others.

How do you feel threatened?

I said, i do not feel personally threatened.

I feel, however, that i feel, as a class, that i believe we are engaged in class warfare.

I think that they are threatened through higher taxation and so forth.

That is my message.

If this is the kind of persecution happening to the one percent, then what is happening to the 99%? i think of the 99%, i mean, i did not originally come from the one percent.

I grew up as one of the 99%. i am your classical self-made man, if you will.

I think that the 99% is struggling and really struggling to get along in america.

We have ever-increasing regulations, higher costs, i think caused by more government than we need.

Small business is difficult to form and prosper.

It is difficult to hire.

That, in my view, is what is hurting and causing the inequality.

I think that the solution is less interference, lower taxes, let the rich do what the rich do, which is get richer.

But along the way, they bring everybody else with them.

You are a multimillionaire.

I am not a billionaire.

I am a multimillionaire.

I have created some billionaires, but i am not one of them.

You have a yacht.

You have fancy cars.

You have underwater submersibles.

It is basically an airplane that flies underwater.

Do you worry that you are divorced from reality?

Are you divorced from reality?

I do not know if anybody can answer that.

Truthfully, i do not think so.

I give, and have given, and will give, millions and millions of dollars to a long list of charities.

I have in mind some universities to give due.

I want to leave my children something that they can have, even though, upon my death, the government will take about 45%. i think i am connected to reality.

I have got lots and lots of friends both that are younger and in this whole web-based, twitter based, world.

And i think i know what they are thinking and talking about, yes.

What about silicon valley?

Is silicon valley divorced from reality?

You mentioned that you crated billionaires.

You have kids making six-figure salaries and getting perks at companies.

They are getting wi-fi access down to the peninsula, which regular residents do not have access to.

Is there something to be said for this idea that silicon valley is living in its own little bubble?

There is something in that.

On the other hand, it is a bubble that is created -- that has changed the world.

It created incredible wealth around america and around the world.

Maybe of the put up with a little techno geek arrogance in order to get the results of those sort of folks'thinking.

How do you see this divide playing out?

Well, now that, as the messenger, i have been shot at.

Read the message.

You just said at the beginning that you regret the message.

I regret the use of that word.

It was a terrible misjudgment.

I do not regret the message at all.

What is the message?

Any time the majority starts to demonize any minority, no matter what it is, it is wrong and dangerous.

No good ever comes from it.

What is the solution?

First, to understand the problem.

That is why wrote the letter.

And i do not apologize for writing the letter.

I should not abuse that awful word.

But the letter said what i believed.

And i believe we have to be careful that we do not demonize anybody and that we don't demonize the most creative part

This text has been automatically generated. It may not be 100% accurate.


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