Carl Paladino, 70, said Tuesday his comments were “inappropriate” and a “mistake,” ABC News reports.
In his defiant apology, Paladino said he “never intended to hurt” minorities with his demeaning comments, ABC said.
He claimed to have mistakenly replied to an email from a Buffalo, New York weekly publication that asked for his 2017 wishes. Paladino said he intended to forward his response only to a couple of friends.
The survey came from Artvoice, which asked several prominent Buffalo residents to share their hopes for the new year. In remarks that appeared Thursday, Paladino said he hopes the president catches mad cow disease.
He also called the first lady a male who should be “let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe where she lives comfortably in a cave with Maxie, the gorilla,” Artvoice reported.
Despite his mea culpa, Paladino, a Buffalo School Board member, remains under pressure to resign. A petition with thousands of signatures calls for him to step down.
Meanwhile, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund sent a letter to New York education officials demanding Paladino’s removal for his “unambiguously racist, barbaric, unpatriotic, and wholly inappropriate” remarks. The letter points to a history of Paladino racists comments.
Paladino declined on Tuesday to step down from the school board. The Republican, who ran unsuccessfully in 2010 for New York governor, said he wants to be part of the Trump-led education reforms.
However, ABC reported that the board plans to hold a special meeting Thursday to discuss his conduct.