BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Local developer and Buffalo School Board member Carl Paladino is facing criticism for his response to Donald Trump’s recently leaked comments about women. A Change.org petition is asking that he is removed from his role as a Buffalo School Board member.
Paladino, co-chair of Trump’s New York campaign, interviewed with News 4 Saturday issuing a response to Trump’s comments. “You got street talk, gutter talk, whatever, most men do it, most women do it, it’s part of our culture, it’s part of our society. How does that in any way rise to the felonious conduct of Hillary Clinton,” Paladino said.
Since then, a petition calling on his removal from the school board has generated over 1,000 signatures. The petition says “it is not only evident that Paladino condones sexual assault and rape but he also openly tries to normalize sexual violence and make it a non-issue. For the safety of all children and women working in the public school system, we ask that the Buffalo School Board remove Carl Paladino from his duties, and to reassure the parents and residents of the city of Buffalo that the leadership of the Buffalo School Board categorically rejects violence against women. Allowing Paladino to remain on the Buffalo School Board makes the board complicit in normalizing rape and sexual assault.”
News 4 spoke to Paladino Monday night, who disagreed with the petition’s claims. “I think I was probably misstating when I said that all men do that. I meant to say a great deal of men do that. I think it’s very unfortunate, unfortunate that it happened. I think Donald Trump apologized. I think in 99 percent of the cases, it’s exaggerated.”
The petition also references the proposed gender identity policy in Buffalo schools. It would allow a transgender student to use the restroom and locker room that corresponds with their gender identity. Paladino has spoken out against the policy.
“I don’t think that the notice of parents is adequate. I don’t think we should expose the sensitive and gentle minds of children at young ages. ..that’s what they’re upset with. they have another agenda here,” Paladino said.
Paladino says it is his job to defend Trump’s positions on the issues, and he will never resign from the school board.
The petition, directed at board President Barbara Seals Nevergold, has reached nearly 1,500 signatures as of Monday night.
Nevergold and other members responded with a statement on Wednesday:
“Last Friday the Republican Presidential candidate, Donald J. Trump, was caught on tape boasting about groping and kissing women without their consent. Trump surrogates, including Buffalo School Board member Carl P. Paladino have rushed to defend Mr. Trump. They have tried to excuse or dismiss his actions as mere locker room banter – a claim that even athletes decry and find unbelievable. Further Mr. Paladino stated that Mr. Trump did “something that all men do, at least normal ones”, thus trying to normalize unacceptable behavior.
We, the undersigned members of the Buffalo Board of Education cannot remain silent as one member attempts to justify and condone behavior that is highly offensive and abusive to women. We are compelled, as elected officials, to speak on the behalf of the 34,000 children in our District, half of whom are female. All of our students, however, deserve to have representatives who will oppose those who maliciously degrade and demean groups of individuals.
We call on Board member Paladino to acknowledge that words matter and that our students are watching and listening to what we say and do; that Board members have an obligation to hold themselves to the same standards we have for students; that we should be the models of behavior (as outlined in the District’s Code of Conduct) that we expect of and require of our students; and that ultimately our students are impacted by the actions of adults who are charged with shaping the policies that determine their educational future.”