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House GOP candidate called Hitler ‘the kind of leader we need’ in 2021 remarks

It's the second time this week Carl Paladino has sparked backlash, after he shared a post claiming recent mass shootings were "false flag" operations.
American businessman Carl Paladino at Trump Tower on Dec. 5, 2016 in New York.
Carl Paladino at Trump Tower in New York on Dec. 5, 2016.Kena Betancur / AFP via Getty Images file

Carl Paladino, a congressional candidate in New York endorsed by a member of House Republican leadership, said in a newly surfaced 2021 interview that Adolf Hitler was "the kind of leader we need today."

“I was thinking the other day about somebody had mentioned on the radio Adolf Hitler and how he aroused the crowds. And he would get up there screaming these epithets and these people were just — they were hypnotized by him,” Paladino said in a radio clip unearthed by the left-leaning group Media Matters for America. “I guess, 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.”

It's the second time this week Paladino has sparked backlash. He came under scrutiny for a post he shared on his Facebook page claiming the mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, were "false flag" operations.

Paladino is running for the seat held by GOP Rep. Chris Jacobs, who recently announced he would no longer seek re-election after he voiced support for a federal ban on so-called assault weapons.

Paladino was endorsed by Elise Stefanik of New York, the No. 3 Republican in the House, who referred to him as "a job creator and conservative outsider who will be a tireless fighter for the people."

A spokesperson said in a statement Thursday that Stefanik “has one of the strongest records in the US Congress condemning anti-Semitism and led and passed bipartisan legislation to expand Holocaust education.”

NBC News has reached out to Stefanik’s campaign about whether Paladino’s remarks put her endorsement in jeopardy.

Paladino, in a statement shared by Stefanik’s spokesperson, acknowledged it was a “serious mistake” to invoke Hitler but also argued that the media had taken his remarks out of context.

“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,” he said. “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. I strongly condemn the murderous atrocities committed against the Jewish people by Hitler and the Nazis.”