Apologizing for a deplorable error, Carl Paladino- a Republican running for Congress in western New York, said Thursday he was wrong to invoke Adolf Hitler when he said in an interview last year he was “the kind of leader we need today” because of his ability to rally crowds.
Paladino’s antisemitic gaffe happened in an interview on WBEN radio in February 2021, where Paladino brought up Hitler when asked by host Peter Hunt about how to “rouse the population” and ”get people thinking about the possibility of change.”
“I was thinking the other day about somebody who had mentioned on the radio Adolf Hitler and how he aroused the crowds. And he would get up there screaming these epithets and these people were just — they were hypnotized by him,” Paladino replied. “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 so that it’s not a strange new world to him.”
In response to the recording going public, Paladino said in a statement that any implication that his comments meant he supported Hitler would be “a new low for the media.”
But he said he was wrong to mention the Nazi leader at all. “I understand that invoking Hitler in any context is a serious mistake and rightfully upsets people. I strongly condemn the murderous atrocities committed against the Jewish people by Hitler and the Nazis, including towards my own Italian family,” the statement said.
Earlier on, Paladino had also drawn complaints from Jewish groups during his run for governor after a newspaper quoted him as calling the Jewish leader of New York’s Assembly “an anti-Christ or a Hitler.”