Langone to Trump: It's great to honor job-saving promises, but the US is a free economy

Langone: Why I'm excited about Trump
Langone: Why I'm excited about Trump

Republican billionaire businessman Ken Langone told CNBC on Friday that Donald Trump should not make a habit of pressuring companies to keep jobs in the United States.

This week, Trump traveled to Indiana to tout the deal he helped cut to keep a United Technologies-owned Carrier plant in Indianapolis open, preventing about 1,100 jobs from going to Mexico.

The deal drew mixed praise at best, with even one Trump ally, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, criticizing the real estate mogul for indulging in 'crony capitalism.'

At the press conference following the announcement, Trump promised to make it "very, very" difficult for companies to ship jobs abroad.

"Trump has to understand, and he will no doubt about it, ... we don't have a managed economy. We don't say to companies you can't go and you won't go. That's scary," the co-founder of Home Depot said Friday on "Squawk Box."

A managed economy refers to economies in nations such as China that control growth and business practices at the governmental level, instead of allowing the free market to guide them.

"He took a little situation, a thousand jobs, and he made it a symbolism of honoring his word," Langone said. "I hope we don't take any more out of that yesterday than that."

Yet not to be outdone, the president-elect on Friday took aim at Rexnord, an industrial supplier based in Milwaukee. The company recently announced plans to move a bearing plant, and its 300 jobs, from Indianapolis to Mexico, drawing a rebuke from Trump.

Langone said he was encouraged that Trump is not going to forget about the promises and issues he focused on during the campaign that got him elected president.

Before endorsing Trump, Langone first supported New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and then Ohio Gov. John Kasich in the Republican race.

--Reuters contributed to this article.