Metro Weekly

GOP Candidate: Kids are “Brainwashed” to Believe Being Gay Is “Valid” Option

Former gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino has a history of making inflammatory and anti-gay comments.

Carl Paladino – Photo: Hannonjd/Paladino for Governor campaign, via Wikimedia

Carl Paladino, the Republican Party’s candidate for governor of New York in 2010, who became known for his controversial statements and inflammatory rhetoric on various issues, including LGBTQ rights, is running for Congress.

Last week, Paladino announced he’s running to fill Chris Jacobs’ seat in New York’s 23rd Congressional District, covering the suburbs of Buffalo and New York’s Southern Tier. The incumbent, U.S. Rep. Chris Jacobs, announced he was scuttling his plans to run for re-election after saying he would support a bill to ban assault-style rifles if such legislation were brought up for a vote in Congress.

Paladino, a Tea Party darling, has been endorsed by U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, the House Republican Conference Chairwoman and a fellow New Yorker, and is currently competing with Erie County Republican Chairman Nicholas Langworthy for not only the GOP nomination, but the endorsement of former President Donald Trump ahead of the August 23 primary. The winner of the Republican contest will be favored to hold the seat for the GOP in November’s general election.

Paladino has a history of making racially-charged and anti-LGBTQ comments, many of which were made during his 2010 run for governor. During that campaign, Paladino claimed at an appearance with Hasidic leaders in Brooklyn: “My children and your children would be much better off and much more successful getting married and raising a family, and I don’t want them brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option — it isn’t.”

During that same speech Paladino also criticized his opponent, then-Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, for taking his daughters to that year’s Pride Parade in New York City, saying “that’s not how God created us and that’s not the example that we should be showing our children.”

“Have you ever been to one?” he asked the crowd at the event. “The men wear little Speedos and they grind on each other. Would you take your children there? I don’t think so.”

During the 2010 race, several emails that were either sent or forwarded by Paladino were made public. Those emails included messages, images, and memes with racist and sexist overtones. One email showed images of African tribesmen dancing, with a caption reading: “Obama Inauguration Rehearsal.” Others showed chimpanzees doing an Irish dance with a caption, “proof the Irish discovered America,” and a third depicted bestiality, according to

A Paladino campaign spokesman at the time admitted that the candidate had previously sent “off-color” and “politically incorrect” emails in the past.

In 2016, Paladino, who was Trump’s New York state campaign chair, called for hanging a Republican convention delegate for “treason” for opposing Trump’s nomination. He sent a tweet that appeared to call for the lynching of U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and claimed in an interview with the New York Observer that former President Barack Obama was a secret Muslim.

A year later, he was ousted from the Buffalo School Board for racist responses to an alternative weekly’s New Year’s Survey, in which he wished that Obama would catch mad cow disease and that former First Lady Michelle Obama would 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 has also come under fire more recently for allegedly posting an article expounding upon a conspiracy theory related to gun-related violence to his Facebook page.

The article, initially posted by someone named Jeff Briggs, appeared to imply that recent mass shootings at a supermarket in Buffalo and an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, were “false flag” operations — meaning they weren’t real occurrences, but were being promoted by government elites in order to push through greater restrictions on firearms. The article contended that Democrats want to capitalize on recent violent events in order to revoke the Second Amendment and take away people’s guns, and that the Uvalde shooter was “receiving hypnosis training” under the direction of the CIA.

The post was flagged by liberal media watchdog Media Matters, prompting outrage from Democrats and gun reform advocates.

Although Paladino initially denied making the post, saying someone else had shared it to his page without his okay, prompting him to deactivate his Facebook account. He later changed his story, telling the Buffalo News that he had published a re-shared post from a friend in Rochester, but hadn’t remembered doing it. He said he did not read the article in its entirety and does not agree with all of its claims, but believes some of the article’s assertions are valid.

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