GOP candidate says ‘Hitler is the kind of leader we need today’

‘Any implication that I support Hitler or any of the sick and disgusting actions of the Nazi regime is a new low for the media’

Gustaf Kilander
Friday 10 June 2022 21:37 BST
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Related video: Trump Argued With John Kelly, ‘Hitler Did a Lot of Good Things,’ Book Claims

A Republican House candidate has come under fire for supposedly lauding Nazi leader Adolf Hitler’s ability to fire up “the crowds” and saying that he was “the kind of leader we need today”.

Businessman Carl Paladino was speaking to Buffalo, New York radio station WBEN in February last year when he made the controversial comments.

Mr Paladino was the GOP nominee for governor in the state in 2010 and is now running for the nomination in the seat of retiring Republican Representative Chris Jacobs.

The chair of the House Republican Conference, New York Representative Elise Stefanik, endorsed Mr Paladino following Mr Jacobs’ retirement announcement, which came after he was attacked by gun rights activists for supporting limited reform of gun laws after a series of mass shootings.

Ms Stefanik said that Mr Paladino’s comments had been taken out of context.

“I condemn any statement, but don’t take it out of context,” she told HuffPost. “That is not accurate reporting.”

Mr Paladino’s comments were made on a radio show hosted by real estate company executive Peter Hunt.

Mr Hunt said that many “people don’t voice their opinion or ... see it as utter futility”.

“How do you rouse the population? How do you get people thinking about the possibility of change here in New York state and what that might mean for everyone here?” the host asked Mr Paladino.

Carl Paladino, former New York gubernatorial candidate, speaks to reporters in the lobby at Trump Tower, December 5, 2016 in New York City

“I was thinking the other day about — somebody had mentioned on the radio Adolf Hitler and how he aroused the crowds,” Mr Paladino said. “And he would get up there screaming these epithets and these people were just — they were hypnotized by him. That’s, I guess, I guess that’s the kind of leader we need today. We need somebody inspirational.”

In a statement on Thursday, Mr Paladino said that “any implication that I support Hitler or any of the sick and disgusting actions of the Nazi regime is a new low for the media”.

“The context of my statement was in regards to something I heard on the radio from someone else and was repeating, I understand that invoking Hitler in any context is a serious mistake and rightfully upsets people,” he added. “I strongly condemn the murderous atrocities committed against the Jewish people by Hitler and the Nazis.”

He also noted that in 2010, he said that “there are some things in this world that we must all be angry about. During World War II, all decent people were angry at Hitler’s extermination of six million Jews in the gas chambers of Auschwitz”.

“During the days of the civil rights battle here in the United States, all decent people were angry at the brutal mistreatment of black people down South,” he added at the time.

In the 2010 race between Mr Paladino and Democrat Andrew Cuomo, the Republican came under fire for saying he would veto gay marriage.

“If you elect me as your next governor, you can depend on me to protect and defend your family from those who seek to tear down our values and bankrupt our citizens. And yes, I will veto all legislation that mocks our sacred institution of marriage and family,” he said at the time.

“I will veto any gay marriage or civil union bill that comes to my desk. Yes, I’m angry. Real angry at the way our politically correct elites are mistreating our innocent children, and I want to protect them and give them a real future in America, the greatest country on God’s green Earth.”

He later backtracked on those comments.

“I sincerely apologize for any comment that may have offended the Gay and Lesbian Community or their family members,” he said in an October 2010 email from his campaign. “Any reference to branding an entire community based on a small representation of them is wrong.”

Gay marriage was legalized in all of the US on 26 June 2015 when the Supreme Court struck down all state bans on same-sex marriage in the case Obergefell v Hodges.

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