Former Republican nominee for governor Carl Paladino, who served as President-elect Donald Trump's New York campaign co-chair, is under fire after stating the death of President Obama from mad-cow disease and “return” of First Lady Michelle Obama to Africa are tops on his wish list for 2017.
The upstate attorney and real estate developer confirmed he made the comments to a weekly Buffalo publication, ArtVoice, that surveyed well-known figures from the region.
Paladino said in the story that he hoped Obama "catches mad cow disease” and dies after having relations with a Hereford cow.
The 70-year-old Paladino added that he'd like Michelle Obama "to return to being a male and let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe where she lives comfortably in a cave with Maxie, the gorilla.”
Paladino's comments, which can be viewed here, drew a sharp rebuke from Trump's transition team.
“Carl’s comments are absolutely reprehensible, and they serve no place in our public discourse,” the Trump transition team said in a statement.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who trounced Paladino in the 2010 gubernatorial election, called the remarks "racist, ugly, reprehensible.
“Paladino has a long history of racist and incendiary comments," Cuomo added. "While most New Yorkers know Mr. Paladino is not to be taken seriously, as his erratic behavior defies any rational analysis and he has no credibility, his words are still jarring.”
Paladino told The Washington Post late Friday that his comments had "nothing to do with race."
“It’s about two progressive elitist ingrates who have hated their country so badly and destroyed its fabric in so many respects in eight years,” he said.
The Buffalo Parent-Teacher Organization called on the state's Education Department to remove Paladino from his position on the Buffalo schools Board of Education.
Trump, who owns an estate in Bedford, also owns Trump National Golf Club Hudson Valley in Stormville and Trump National Westchester in Briarcliff Manor.
The Trump name also adorns Trump Tower At City Center in White Plains, Trump Plaza in New Rochelle, Trump Park Residences in Yorktown and the Donald J. Trump State Park on the Westchester/Putnam border.