Upstate New York Republican Carl Paladino, a former gubernatorial candidate, ignited a firestorm of criticism Friday for “racist” and “reprehensible” remarks including his wish that President Obama “catch mad cow disease” and “dies” and First Lady Michelle Obama “return to being a male and let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe.”
The racially insensitive comments from Paladino, who supported President-elect Donald Trump during the presidential campaign, came in response to four questions posed by Artvoice, a Buffalo alt-weekly, for an article related to the new year titled, “What do we want for 2017?”
In response to the paper’s first question—“What would you like most to happen in 2017?”—Paladino said: “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.”
Asked who’d he’d like to “go away” next year, Paladino responded, “Michele 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,” he added.
The comments garnered swift condemnation from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, his former 2010 gubernatorial race rival.
“Carl Paladino, a Republican Party official from Western New York, made racist, ugly and reprehensible remarks about President Obama and the First Lady Michelle Obama,” Cuomo said in a statement.
“Paladino has a long history of racist and incendiary comments,” he added. “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. 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’s comments also drew a rebuke from the president-elect’s transition team, calling the remarks “absolutely reprehensible.”
The county executive of Erie County said Paladino should resign from his position on the Buffalo School Board, as did hundreds of people who signed an online petition calling for Paladino’s resignation.
“Carl Paladino has proven himself time again with disgusting comments to be a racist,” stated the Change.org petition, which had more than 2,100 signatories just hours after it was created.
Paladino released an unapologetic statement in which he criticized President Obama for diminishing the military’s might and questioning First Lady Michelle Obama’s patriotism.
“And yes,” he closed, “it’s about a little deprecating humor which Americans lost for a long time. Merry Christmas and tough luck if you don’t like my answer.”