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Photo Credit: Getty Images

January 5, 2017

Talking Points

Racist remarks land Carl Paladino in hot water with Buffalo school board and Trump team

Comments are only the latest in a long string of offensive statements

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Brash real estate mogul Carl Paladino is still a sitting member of the school board in Buffalo, N.Y. — at least for now — but he could well have lost his seat on the Trump train.
On Thursday, the former Republican gubernatorial candidate — who co-chaired President-elect Donald Trump’s New York campaign and told The 74 in October that he doesn’t disagree with Trump on anything — was missing as a co-chair of a $5,000-a-plate transition team fundraiser. The New York Daily News reported that Paladino had been shut out because of racist remarks he made in a local weekly newspaper. (The transition team did not respond to a request for comment.)
Paladino told Artvoice his greatest wish for 2017 is that President Barack Obama dies after he “catches mad cow disease after being caught having relations with a Hereford” and that First Lady Michelle Obama returns “to being a male and let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe where she lives comfortably in a cave with Maxie, the gorilla.”
It was not the first time Paladino has made racist statements in public.
Trump’s transition team called the comments “absolutely reprehensible,” and Paladino released a statement apologizing to “the minority community.” Still, in a telephone interview with The 74 on Wednesday, he said the Daily News article was “concocted.” When asked about his involvement in Trump’s transition, he said, “It’s none of your business.”
And while he said he is “highly supportive” of Trump’s school choice policies, he’s not interested in an administration post.
"I think you’ll recognize that if you’ll look at the big picture that, you know, my ability to be me and comment and act on behalf of major change in education is better served where I am right now,” he said, referring to a school district where 70 percent of students are minorities and just 16 percent read at grade level. “I don’t need the limitations of a job. A job in government limits you. I’m not the kind of person you can limit.”
That freedom “to be me and comment” led the Buffalo school board last week to demand Paladino’s resignation and to seek his ouster by New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia. The process could take almost a year.
In the meantime, some of Paladino’s more notorious statements:
  • December 2016: “The black leadership in this community is horrible. They do nothing for their people, they do it for their own power and self-preservation and so they can get re-elected. They like the cycle of poverty in our inner cities across this country because that cycle of poverty is the voting base of the Democratic Party. Keep ’em hungry, keep ’em dumb, OK, and everything is all right with the world.”
  • October 2016, on Obama: “In the mind of the average American, there is no doubt he is a Muslim. He is not a Christian.”
  • August 2016, on Khizr Khan: “I don’t care if he’s a Gold Star parent. He certainly doesn’t deserve that title, OK, if he’s as anti-American as he’s illustrated in his speeches and in his discussion. I mean, if he’s a member of the Muslim Brotherhood or supporting, you know, the ISIS type of attitude against America, there’s no reason for Donald Trump to have to honor this man.”
  • June 2016, on Trump: “He’s not a racist. … This is incredible that you want to pull this word out and use it, because it always pushes back on the white guy.”
  • April 2016: “People that get on this bus, on the Trump bus, are people that are very, very frustrated with their government. … It doesn’t matter what kind of person is the exterminator, OK? They want the raccoons out of the basement.”
  • October 2010: “I just think my children and your children would be much better off and much more successful getting married and raising a family, and I don’t want them brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option — it isn’t.”
  • October 2010, on gay pride parade marchers wearing “little Speedos and [grinding] against each other”: “I think it’s disgusting.”
  • August 2010, proposing housing welfare recipients in underused prisons: “Instead of handing out the welfare checks, we’ll teach people how to earn their check. We’ll teach them personal hygiene … the personal things they don’t get when they come from dysfunctional homes.”
  • April 2010: A website leaked a cache of Paladino emails spanning several years, including pornography, bestiality and a 2009 note depicting the president and first lady as a 1970s-style pimp and prostitute. Another email, sent before Obama’s inauguration, included a video titled “Obama Inauguration Rehearsal” featuring dancing African tribesmen. One showing “motivational” posters featured the N-word.
  • March 2010: “I fear the results of Obamacare will be so horrific that it will kill more Americans through deteriorating health care than were lost on 9/11. Nothing can lessen the terrible events of that day, but in terms of raw numbers, more will suffer and die through Obamacare.”
  • In 2010: Paladino called several female board members of the Buffalo teachers union “the parasitic Black Sisterhood.”
  • April 2008: At a public forum, Paladino said School Superintendent James Williams was hired only because he was black.