Republican activist Carl Paladino said Tuesday he never meant to spark controversy by telling Buffalo alt-weekly Artvoice that his wish for 2017 was for President Barack Obama to die and for his wife Michelle to move to Zimbabwe with a gorilla.
Paladino, a Buffalo School board member who served as the co-chair for Trump’s New York campaign, told Artvoice that he took the survey for his hopes for 2017 in an “emotional moment” and that his comments were an “inappropriate” “mistake.”
“I was wired up, primed to be human and make a mistake,” he wrote in the statement, which was obtained by local station WBEN. “I could not have made a worse choice in the words I used to express my feelings.”
He said his anger was prompted by Obama’s ineffective response to the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo, Syria.
Even as Paladino apologized for hurting “the minority community” with his racist remarks, he took shots at the “attacking parasites,” “vanquished progressive haters,” and “mean spirited disoriented press [sic]” who took issue with his comments. He also called Obama a “yellow-bellied coward” and “lazy ass president.”
“I certainly am not a racist,” he concluded the letter, saying he had no intention to resign from the school board despite outcry from many in the Buffalo community.
Paladino also said he sent the survey answers to Artvoice accidentally.
“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,’” he wrote. “All men make mistakes.”
Since the survey was published last Thursday, everyone from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to the Trump transition team condemned Paladino’s stated desire for the president to die of mad cow disease and for Michelle Obama to return to “being a male.”
The transition team released a statement calling his remarks “absolutely reprehensible,” almost 13,000 people signed an online petition calling for his removal from the school board, and the chancellor of the New York State Board of Regents said it was “unacceptable” for a person in Paladino’s position to “speak in this manner.”
The Buffalo School Board will hold a special meeting on Thursday about Paladino, WBEN reported.