N.Y. Republican congressional candidate says Hitler is the ‘kind of leader we need today’
ALBANY, N.Y. — An upstate congressional candidate with a long history of controversial remarks is once again in hot water after saying that Adolf Hitler is “the kind of leader we need today.”
In an audio clip unveiled Thursday by Media Matters for America, a left-leaning watchdog group, Republican Carl Paladino is heard invoking the Nazi leader and commending “how he aroused the crowds.”
“(H)e would get up there screaming these epithets and these people were just — they were hypnotized by him,” Paladino said during a February 2021 appearance on the The r-House Radio Show, which airs on WBEN in Buffalo. “That’s, I guess, I guess that’s the kind of leader we need today.
“We need somebody inspirational. We need somebody that is a doer, has been there and done it,” he added.
Paladino, a former Republican gubernatorial candidate, is running for the 23rd Congressional District after Rep. Chris Jacobs, R-N.Y., abruptly ended his reelection bid last week over backlash related to his support for an assault weapons ban.
He has already garnered endorsements from the likes of Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., the third-ranking Republican in the House, as he is slated to face off against state GOP chairman Nick Langworthy in the August primary.
State Democratic Party chairman Jay Jacobs condemned Paladino’s comments and called on Republicans to rethink backing the Buffalo real estate developer.
“How has the Republican Party stooped so low to support a man who has gone on record idolizing a monster that senselessly killed millions?” Jacobs said in a statement. “Rep. Elise Stefanik has doubled down on her endorsement of this demagogue, demonstrating how out-of-touch Stefanik and GOP leaders are with the voters in this state.”
Paladino is no stranger to controversy, having made blatantly racist remarks in the past about former President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama as well as Asian Americans.
Paladino won the GOP gubernatorial primary in 2010 despite being accused of forwarding racist and offensive emails to colleagues in the construction industry.
He lost the general election to former Gov. Andrew Cuomo by more than 30 points and went on to serve on the school board of Buffalo Public Schools before being booted in 2017.
Earlier this week, Media Matters revealed that he shared a post on Facebook and emailed supporters claiming that recent mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, were false flag operations meant to help Democrats “revoke the 2nd amendment and take away guns.”
On Thursday, Paladino said in a statement to the Associated Press that he was wrong to mention Hitler last year and that any implication that his comments meant he supported Hitler would be “a new low for the media.”
“I understand that invoking Hitler in any context is a serious mistake and rightfully upsets people,” he said. “I strongly condemn the murderous atrocities committed against the Jewish people by Hitler and the Nazis, including towards my own Italian family.”