New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has responded to statements made by businessman Carl Paladino, his former rival in the 2010 gubernatorial election. Paladino, whose campaign emphasized regressive fiscal reform and was endorsed by the Tea Party movement, sparked controversy after he told reporters he would like to see President Barack Obama die of mad cow disease and compared First Lady Michelle Obama to a gorilla.
“Paladino has a long history of racist and incendiary comments. While most New Yorkers know Mr. Paladino is not to be taken seriously, as his erratic behavior defies any rational analysis and he has no credibility, his words are still jarring,” Cuomo said in a statement. “His remarks do not reflect the sentiments or opinions of any real New Yorker and he has embarrassed the good people of the state with his latest hate-filled rage.”
Paladino, who sits on the Buffalo, New York school board, has made headlines for inflammatory comments before. In 2010, for example, he was criticized for anti-gay remarks to Orthodox rabbis and found himself at the center of an email scandal after a progressive website exposed a litany of racist and sexually explicit messages from his private account. But his racially charged responses to a survey by Artvoice, an alternative weekly magazine, have received sharp rebukes from both sides of the aisle:
ARTVOICE: What would you most like to happen in 2017?
PALADINO: Obama catches mad cow disease after being caught having relations with a Herford. He dies before his trial and is buried in a cow pasture next to Valerie Jarret, who died weeks prior, after being convicted of sedition and treason, when a Jihady cell mate mistook her for being a nice person and decapitated her.
ARTVOICE: What would you most like to see go in 2017?
PALADINO: Michelle Obama. I’d like her to return to being a male and let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe where she lives comfortably in a cave with Maxie, the gorilla.
Paladino has denied that his comments were racist. “It has nothing to do with race,” Paladino told the Washington Post. “That’s the typical stance of the press when they can’t otherwise defend the acts of the person being attacked. It’s about 2 progressive elitist ingrates who have hated their country so badly and destroyed its fabric in so many respects in 8 years.”
As recently as December 5, Paladino visited Trump Tower to work on President-elect Donald Trump’s transition efforts, but a spokeswoman for Trump denounced his comments. “Carl’s comments are absolutely reprehensible, and they serve no place in our public discourse,” said spokeswoman Jessica Ditto. (She did not comment on Paladino’s future on the transition team.)
But Paladino, who has sought to have Trump’s portrait hung in all of Buffalo’s schools, says that he doesn’t believe Trump “particularly cares what I have to say.”
“He knows me,” he added. “I was active with him, and I still am active with him.”
As of this afternoon, nearly 6,000 people have signed an online petition calling for Paladino’s removal from
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