JAMESTOWN, N.Y. (WIVB) – Republican congressional candidate Carl Paladino won’t be answering questions from debate moderators ahead of the August primary for New York’s 23rd district, but he did take questions from a group of right-wing supporters at a campaign stop this week in Jamestown.
The Jamestown Post-Journal, whose story on the 45-minute discussion was blasted out by Paladino’s campaign as a press release, wrote that Paladino “barely acknowledged his opponents in the primary” while meeting with a group called the Southern Tier Tea Party Patriots.
Paladino made a number of eye-opening statements during the meeting, including support for mandatory military conscription, disparaging comments about the President and Vice President, and climate change denial.
On mandatory military service, Paladino said he supports conscription — but only for men.
“I believe that every young man, at the age of 18 or graduation from high school, should serve a minimum of one year, if not two, in the service of their country,” he was quoted as saying. “For what reason? So that they can learn the discipline. … So that they can value their citizenship and value their country, OK, like we do. Serve your country and you will value it for the rest of your life. Unfortunately, we’ve let a couple generations get away.”
“I’m talking about males, not females,” he followed up. “I don’t believe females, you know I don’t believe in all this, ‘We’re all one and one for all’ and all that nonsense. You have a special place. We can’t give birth to a child, you can. You’re a major part of the growth of our society in the future.”
Paladino reportedly served three months of active duty at Fort Bliss in 1971 and spent several years in the Reserve, though his campaign was caught overstating his military accolades during his unsuccessful run for governor in 2010.
Paladino also reiterated his pledge to pursue impeachment of President Joe Biden during the Jamestown event, calling Biden an “idiot” who is “totally incompetent.” He lamented, however, that impeaching Biden would put Vice President Kamala Harris in office, whom he referred to as “the crazy woman.”
Paladino also railed against the scientific consensus of climate change during the meeting.
“Climate change, do you really believe there’s climate change?” Paladino said. “What is wrong with the press? What is wrong with these people? You’re scaring the hell out of us because when they alarm the population here they can control the population, OK?”
Paladino’s history of racist, offensive or otherwise controversial comments has not seemed to hurt him in the primary race. His campaign released an internal poll conducted by WPA earlier this month that claimed he was 30 points ahead of his opponent, state Republican Committee chairman Nick Langworthy.
The primary election is scheduled for Aug. 23. Early voting starts Aug. 13.