BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Much has been said in the wake of what many have described as highly offensive comments from the keyboard of Carl Paladino.
In addition to his position as a member of the Buffalo school board, Paladino is also one of Western New York’s most high profile Republicans.
And we haven’t heard from the chairman of the county’s GOP — until now, when he talked exclusively to News 4.
Erie County GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy wants to make something abundantly clear: In no way does he support the comments penned by Carl Paladino.
“I obviously reject anything he wrote,” Langworthy said. “I don’t speak that way, I don’t think that way. And there’s really no place in public dialogue for that kind of a discussion.”
Paladino’s disparaging comments about the president and first lady appeared in the Dec. 22 ArtVoice. He said he hoped President Obama would die of mad cow disease, and for the First Lady to live out her life in Africa with gorillas. Paladino at first stood by his comments, saying they were meant to be taken in jest. Then he said they were sent to the magazine by mistake, and were meant only for friends.
Since their publication, the call for Paladino’s removal from the board of education has grown louder by the day.
But Paladino has remained steadfast, saying the board is wasting taxpayer dollars on what he predicts to be a lengthy court process.
That, Langworthy said, is where he and the embattled board member see eye to eye.
“The school board has made their opinions known,” Langworthy said. “They are now entering a legal process that is going to spend an awful lot of taxpayer money, money that should be invested in our students and our children, to have what really appears to be a very political dust up.
“I think it’s just an unfortunate situation,” he added. “There’s a lot of politicians in town that want to drag this out. There’s a lot of media types in this town that want to drag this out, and I don’t think it’s productive.
“Carl has apologized. Carl has tried to move forward from this.”
Langworthy says he believes this is part of a larger effort to silence one of the school district’s biggest critics.
“He’s a minority member of the power struggle on that school board, and I don’t know how that’s really productive for the students and the taxpayers in the city of Buffalo,” he said.
The decision now rests with state education commissioner MaryEllen Elia. But as an election official, Langworthy believes it should be a decision up to the voters in Paladino’s district.
“Ms. Elia has some real decisions to make, but he’s an independently elected official,” Langworthy said. “And I think he is really accountable to the people of south Buffalo that elected him.”