A businessman who co-chaired the Trump campaign in New York state said Tuesday his recent derogatory statements about President Barack Obama and his wife weren't meant for publication but were nevertheless "inappropriate" and a "mistake."
Carl Paladino said he intended his email response to a weekly alternative publication's survey to only go to a couple friends, not the newspaper. He said he mistakenly hit "reply" on his computer instead of "forward."
The millionaire developer told Artvoice last week he hoped President Obama would die from mad cow disease and Michelle Obama would "return to being a male."
In Paladino's Tuesday statement, first reported on Buffalo's WBEN radio, he apologizes to minorities, saying he "never intended to hurt" them with his anti-Obama remarks. The comments sparked outrage from various political circles, including Trump's transition team, which called the developer's comments "absolutely reprehensible."
Paladino's comments even drew a rebuke from his own son William, who runs the family's development firm. The younger Paladino called the statements "disrespectful and absolutely unnecessary."
The father's earlier comments about the president prompted at least two petitions, one calling for his removal from the Buffalo school board and the other seeking the removal of his name from a student town house at St. Bonaventure University, his alma mater and recipient of more than $1 million in donations from Carl Paladino over the years.
Paladino, a school board member since 2013, also said he won't resign his elected position on the board.
"No, I'm not leaving the school board," he said in the statement, "not when it's time to help implement the real choice elements of Trump's plan for education reform."
The board is holding a special meeting Thursday to "discuss board member conduct." In New York, school board members typically can only be removed by the state education commissioner.
Paladino, 70, unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2010 as a Republican. The Democrat who defeated him, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, called the comments about the Obamas "racist, ugly and reprehensible."
Paladino made the comments Friday in response to an Artvoice survey that asked local artists, performers and business owners for their New Year's wish list.
Paladino made no mention of any computer mistakes in a statement he released Friday after the publication posted his comments on its website. Instead, that statement ripped the Obamas, calling the president a "yellow-bellied coward" and claiming the first lady "hated America before her husband won" the White House.