Two days before Christmas, the Buffalo real estate magnate/seven-time Emperor Palpatine lookalike contest winner told ArtVoice that he hoped that the new year would bring the death of Barack Obama, who would die of mad cow disease after having sex with a cow (that is not how mad cow disease works, though that’s far from the biggest problem here) and that Michelle Obama would “return to being a male and let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe where she lives comfortably in a cave with Maxie, the gorilla.” Even Trump’s transition team distanced itself from Paladino after the remarks were made public: It released a statement blasting Paladino’s comments, which it called “absolutely reprehensible.”
Paladino, a longtime friend of Trump (he co-chaired his campaign in New York) has made a number of racist statements as a representative of Trump’s campaign. He claimed that Trump’s campaign was about reaching people who “want the raccoons out of the basement.” Shortly after the DNC he said that Khizr Khan might have an “ISIS type” attitude against America. A year ago he said that there were too many “damn Asians” and foreigners attending the University of Buffalo while speaking at a Trump rally in Olean. And in 2010, his ill-fated gubernatorial campaign was rocked by a real email scandal: It was revealed that Paladino had circulated racist memes, pornographic videos (including one featuring bestiality), and used the “n-word.”
It’s fair to call Paladino’s comments racist because they are and because Paladino has a long history of making racist comments in public and in private, which tells you all you really need to know. But in a statement in which he apologized for his remarks, Paladino blasted the media for covering them accurately:
Paladino says that his comments were sent in as a mistake—that they were meant to be the kind of jokes shared between friends that were made public in 2010—and that he is not a racist. Neither explains or excuses what he said, though both seem to be engineered to try to quiet the calls for him to resign from the Buffalo school board. (Ever the authoritarian, Paladino has called for every Buffalo classroom to feature a picture of Donald Trump.) He should resign, but given his hard-headed refusal to bend to any criticism, it seems unlikely.