Trump New York chair Carl Paladino issues semi-apology for racist attack on Michelle Obama

Source: AP
Source: AP

Carl Paladino, who co-chaired Donald Trump's New York State presidential campaign, issued a defiant apology Tuesday for his recent racist comments in which he said his hopes for 2017 included seeing Michelle Obama "return to being a male and let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe where she lives comfortably in a cave with Maxie, the gorilla."

In a statement read on WBEN radio in upstate New York, Paladino — the 2010 GOP nominee for governor of New York — said, "What is horrible is explaining to my 17-year-old daughter how her hero could be so stupid." 

Paladino, known for incendiary remarks throughout his public life, made the provocative statements in response to a questionnaire from the weekly publication Artvoice.

In addition to his slam on the first lady, Paladino's questionnaire response also suggested he'd like to see President Barack Obama catch 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 [sic], who died weeks prior, after being convicted of sedition and treason, when a Jihady [sic] cell mate mistook her for being a nice person and decapitated her," Paladino's response continued.

Team Trump disavowed Paladino's ranting, per the Washington Post.

On Tuesday, mingling remorse and bravado in classic Paladino style, the Buffalo mogul, dubbed "Crazy Carl" by the tabloids, said, in part, 

I never intended to hurt the minority community who I spent years trying to help out of the cycle of poverty in our inner cities. To them I apologize. I thought about them every day as I fought against unqualified and incompetent superintendents, administrators, teachers and school board members, unfair union contracts, broken homes and children who can't get the education they need to break that cycle of poverty because our school system is a failure, for reasons that needn't be. I have shown those who chose not to watch but to enter the arena how to fight the demons. 

But Paladino didn't exactly take the full hit for what he'd said.

"Believe it or not, I did not mean to send those answers to Artvoice," he wrote. 

"Not that it makes any difference, because what I wrote was inappropriate under any circumstance," Paladino added. "I filled out the survey to send to a couple friends and forwarded it to them, not realizing that I didn't hit 'forward,' I hit 'reply.' All men make mistakes."

Paladino served as co-chair of Trump's New York State campaign.
Source: 
Andrew Harnik/AP

This isn't the first time Paladino's email habits have landed him in the soup. 

As the New York Daily News reported in 2010, "His more revolting missives contained racist rants, hardcore porn and a video clip involving bestiality. In one December 2008 email, an African tribal dance is labeled an 'Obama inauguration rehearsal.'"

The Associated Press reported that the Buffalo School Board has called a special meeting for Thursday to "discuss board member conduct."

Paladino, who initially said his Artvoice remarks weren't about race but "a little deprecating humor" that America needs, has vowed not to leave the school board.

"I've spent years dedicated to the mission to defeat the thought that the liberal progressive elitist establishment can continue to hold our minority children captive in the cycle of poverty simply to provide their voting base," Paladino's Tuesday statement closed. 

"I don't intend to yield to the fanatics among my adversaries. I certainly am not a racist."

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Celeste Katz

Celeste Katz is senior political correspondent at Mic, covering national politics. She is based in New York and can be reached at celeste@mic.com.

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