“I don’t think of myself in any way as a racist,” Paldino said on local Buffalo radio station WBEN, saying he fought for policies to help Black children while on the Buffalo School Board.
Paladino is running for the seat being vacated by Republican Rep. Chris Jacobs, who said he would no longer seek reelection after saying he supported a federal ban on so-called assault weapons. He faces New York State Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy in the primary.
“Someday, somebody like a Donald Trump is gonna come in and force that stuff on them — OK. And maybe then, OK, we’ll get some change because the Black people deserve better,” he said discussing Buffalo schools. “They shouldn’t be held captive in our inner cities. They shouldn’t be held hungry and dumb so as to provide a base for the Democratic Party, that’s what’s been going on. You can’t teach them differently because they’ve been so conditioned to think that way. And that is so, so wrong. And I’ll fight for that stuff until the day I die.”
In a statement to CNN, Paladino said CNN had taken his words out of context.
“It is not surprising that CNN is once again taking my comments out of context from years ago. Democrats policies have failed black voters and taken them for granted which is why Republicans have a historic opportunity to win huge this November,” Paladino said. “I am proud of the work I did for Buffalo Schools, turning around an underperforming district, and investing resources in predominately African American areas.”
On May 16, 2020, Paladino disparaged a woman who accused former President Donald Trump of sexual assault tweeting, “get a life. You probably enjoyed the slap at the time.” Another tweet that day called the Buffalo News “a shitbag newspaper.”
Paladino, a Buffalo-based real estate developer who previously ran for New York governor in 2010, entered the congressional race in early June, shortly after Republican Rep. Chris Jacobs announced he would not run for reelection in the newly redrawn district in lieu of intense political backlash for supporting a federal assault weapons ban following the Buffalo mass shooting.
Paladino quickly earned the endorsement of upstate New York Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik, who is the third-ranked Republican in the House and has kept her endorsement despite his recent controversies.