Stefanik, No. 3 House Republican, Got Badass While Supporting Carl Paladino in New York, Say Sources

Representative Alice Stefanik3 Republicans in the House, two sources told NBC News, ranked fellow House GOP leaders when they supported a New York congressional candidate with a history of controversial and racist comments.

Stefanik, RN.Y. backed Carl Paladino, a Buffalo developer, earlier this month that includes House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La. A House GOP leadership aide said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment publicly on the matter.

A House Republican familiar with the GOP leadership’s dismay with Stefnick, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, called her support of Paladino “astonished” and “off-putting.”

Paladino made headlines in recent weeks for suggesting on Facebook that the recent mass shootings were a “false flag” operation and for a 2021 interview in which he said that Adolf Hitler was “the kind of leader we need today.” needs,” Stefnick, House Republican Conference chair, with news articles pointing to his connection. Sources said the presence of a relationship between Paladino and the House leadership disappointed fellow top Republicans.

“When you’re in that number three position, when you’re in leadership, everything you say gets interpreted on behalf of the team,” said the House leadership aide. Liz got rid of Cheney. And now Alice is doing the same thing.”

Republicans oust Representative Liz CheneyR-Wyo., from leadership and replaced him with Stefnick last year, after Cheney, who voted to impeach then-President Donald Trump for his role in the Capitol riot, continued publicly reprimand her For promoting false claims about the 2020 election.

Stefnik’s campaign and office declined to comment. Representatives for McCarthy, Scalise and the National Republican Congressional Committee did not respond to requests for comment.

A senior Republican, who was not authorized to speak on the subject, pointed to Stefnick’s support record in this cycle, noting that “the majority of his supported candidates are winning, predicting that Nick Langworthy, State The GOP president who is seeking to represent the 23rd district said Paladino would suffer “a great shameful loss” in the August 23 primary.

“Republicans running for leadership would be smart enough to make Karl an ally, as he will be a member in January 2023,” said this person.

It is not uncommon for members of the leadership to endorse candidates on their own.

Stefanik backed Paladino, an early Trump supporter in 2016, almost immediately after GOP Representative Chris Jacobs announced that he won’t run for re-election In the 23rd Congressional District of New York when he a . voiced support for Federal ban on so-called assault weapons, In your support, Stefanico described As Paladino puts it “a job creator and conservative outsider who will be a tireless fighter for the people of New York in our fight to put America first to save the country.”

Soon after his endorsement, Paladino caught the spark. The responses were “false flag” operations to a post he shared on his Facebook claiming recent mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas and Buffalo. Then, Audio of a 2021 interview Paladino gave to WBEN in Buffalo in which he said that Adolf Hitler was “the kind of leader we need today.”

“I was thinking that day someone mentioned on the radio Adolf Hitler and how he woke up the crowd. And he would wake up there shouting these adjectives and these people were just — they were hypnotized by that,” Paladino said. said in a radio clip Shared by left-leaning group Media Matters for America, “I think, I think we need a leader like that today. We need some motivator. We need someone who is a doer, has been there and done it.”

Paladino said in a statement: argued that the comments were a “serious mistake”, but argued that they were not in the proper context.

“Any implication that I support any ill-fated and despicable actions of Hitler or the Nazi regime is a new low for the media,” he said. “The context of my statement was in relation to something I heard on the radio from someone else and I repeat, I understand that to invoke Hitler in any context is a serious mistake and upsets people. I am Hitler and Strongly condemn the murderous atrocities committed by the Nazis against the Jewish people.”

A spokeswoman for Stephanic said in a statement at the time that the Congresswoman had “one of the strongest records in the US Congress condemning anti-Semitism and leading and passing bipartisan legislation to expand Holocaust education.” “

Paladino has a history of controversial or racist comments. Last week, CNN Published audio of Paladino telling a radio host in 2016 that black Americans were “dumb and hungry” to vote only for Democrats, saying “you can’t teach them differently.” In the same year, Paladino, a member of the Buffalo Board of Education, made racist remarks about then-First Lady Michelle Obama, “Let loose on the outskirts of Zimbabwe where she lives comfortably in a cave with Maxi, the gorilla.”

Paladino claimed that CNN had taken him out of context. Following his 2016 remarks about Obama, in which he also said that he wished then-President Barack Obama would die of mad cow disease after having sex with a cow, he They said “The words I used to express my feelings couldn’t have been a worse choice.”

Stefnik’s support of the Paladino appears to stem from a growing feud between him and Langworthy, Politico reported This week.

speak with New York Post Earlier this month, Langworthy said that rather than a potential challenge by Stephanic, the State Party was backing Stephanic Paladino because of “retaliation” by Rep. Lee Zeldin, R.N.Y., in his gubernatorial bid versus Gov. Kathy Hochul.

However, Politico reported, Langworthy has angered some state Republicans, who believe that it is a conflict of interest for him not to seek re-election, after encouraging him for Jacobs’ seat, as state president. Is. Others see it as a widely contested battle for the seat while serving as state party president.

“I think he needs to step down as president-term,” said Sue McNeil, GOP president in Fulton County, New York. told the New York Post, apart from this, three out of four GOP candidates Because the governor called on him to step down in a debate this week – with Zeldin the lone exception.

Meanwhile, McCarthy has faced criticism from former President Donald Trump over his lack of Republican representation on the House Select Committee investigating the Capitol riots. Trump told a conservative radio host that he has not yet decided to support McCarthy in a possible bid for House speaker, should Republicans regain control of the chamber in November.

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