Jun 9, 2022 - Politics & Policy

GOP House candidate calls Hitler comments "a mistake"

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

Carl Paladino, former New York gubernatorial candidate, speaks to reporters. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Carl Paladino, a Republican running for Congress in New York, said Thursday that he was wrong to suggest Adolf Hitler was "the kind of leader we need today" in an interview last year, per the Washington Post.

Driving the news: Hiter "would get up there screaming these epithets and these people were just — they were hypnotized by him," Paladino said in a radio interview in February 2021. "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.”

The latest: Paladino told the Buffalo News on Thursday that he was not praising Hitler.

  • "Hitler was a very popular person; the popularity was something we never saw in America," he told the news outlet. "That had nothing to do with praising him."
  • "I should have used Churchill," he added, referring to Britain's World War II leader, Winston Churchill.
  • "I understand that invoking Hitler in any context is a serious mistake and rightfully upsets people," he said. "I strongly condemn the murderous atrocities committed against the Jewish people by Hitler and the Nazis.”

Between the lines: Paladino, an ally of former President Trump, had recently earned the endorsement of House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.).

  • His comments have drawn ire from many and could be a potential headache for Republican leaders, per the New York Times.

What they're saying: "I am calling on the New York GOP to immediately condemn the blatant antisemitism of Carl Paladino, who appallingly referred to Hitler, a genocidal dictator, as 'the kind of leader we need today,'" New York Democratic Party Chair Jay Jacobs said in a statement.

  • A Stefanik spokesperson told the Times in a statement that Stefanik has "one of the strongest records in the U.S. Congress condemning antisemitism" and had pushed bipartisan Holocaust education legislation. The spokesperson did not comment on Stefanik's support for Paladino.
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