Donald Trump’s New York campaign co-chair Carl Paladino has come under fire after crude remarks about President Barack Obama and the first lady.
Asked by a newspaper what he would most like to happen in 2017, Carl Paladino said he hoped President Barack Obama would die from mad cow disease and Michelle Obama would “return to being a male”.
Carl Paladino, 70, later said his remarks were meant to be humorous.
However, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the comments were “racist” and “ugly”.
Many Twitter users also condemned Carl Paladino, with one saying there was “something deeply, horribly wrong” with him.
Meanwhile, the Parent Teacher Organization in the city of Buffalo called on Carl Paladino to resign from its school board.
The White House has made no public comment.
Carl Paladino, the unsuccessful Republican candidate for the post of New York governor in 2010, was asked by Buffalo’s Artvoice newspaper for his hopes for 2017.
This is Artvoice‘s traditional end-of-the-year feature, where prominent local figures give their predictions.
Referring to Barack Obama, Carl Paladino said he hoped the president “catches mad cow disease after being caught having relations” with a cow and would die and be buried “in a cow pasture”.
On Michelle Obama, he said: “I’d like her to return to being a male and let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe where she lives comfortably in a cave with Maxie, the gorilla.”
Carl Paladino later said his remarks were “about a little deprecating humor which America lost for a long time”, adding: “Merry Christmas and tough luck if you don’t like my answer.”