Millionaire Apologizes for Comparing Progressives to Nazis, Says His Watch Is Worth a '6-Pack of Rolexes'

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Legendary Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tom Perkins appeared on Bloomberg TV this evening to apologize for writing a letter to The Wall Street Journal comparing progressives to the Nazis and America's richest 1 percent to persecuted German Jews. In the process, he may have delivered the greatest brag about a watch that the Hip Hop world somehow never thought of. 

Perkins said he particularly regretted his letter's comparison of Occupiers and progressives to Kristallnacht, the 1938 wave of riots in which Germans destroyed Jewish shops and 30,000 Jews were carted off to concentration camps. He explained that he had been reminded of the historic pogroms during the recent protests over the wealth inequality in San Francisco, in which protesters broke the windows of a Wells Fargo Bank and luxury car dealerships. 

“I saw that and remembered that the police stood by frozen," he said. "And thought, well, this is how Kristallnacht began. So that word was in my mind."

Perkins says he is certainly not sorry, however, about he letter's overall message that the rich are being unfairly attacked and are "threatened as a class" by higher taxes. “To demonize the job creators, to demonize the rich who spend and buy things is crazy," he said. 

To illustrate said demonization, he recalled a recent news report that questioned why someone would spend money on a Rolex. At which point, he showed off his own watch, a Richard Mille, and said, in a moment immediately inscribed into Internet lore: "I could buy a 6-pack of Rolexes for this.”

When Bloomberg TV's Emily Chang brought up the watch later in the interview, Perkins looked a bit taken aback. “That was naughty. That was off the air. It was a gift, though.” But give him points for quick math. A price check on Google suggests that his time piece could, theoretically, buy about six Rolexes. (Depending on the model, of course).  

Perkins also informed Bloomberg's viewers that he is a "literal knight of the Kingdom of Norway," which is also accurate. 

Tom Perkins and TV. This could be the beginning of something beautiful. 

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Jordan Weissmann is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic.

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