Update: This story from Tuesday night has been updated to include Paladino’s comments on Wednesday. We also corrected a line that misstated the type of document Paladino’s campaign filed to the Federal Election Commission.
BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Carl Paladino, who announced plans to run for Congress in the redrawn New York 23rd District, told News 4 he deactivated his Facebook page Tuesday after a post on his page laden with conspiracy theories drew criticism online.
Paladino initially told News 4 on Tuesday that he did not personally make the post, nor was he aware of it, claiming it was posted by someone else who had access to his account. But Wednesday, he changed his story in an interview with The Buffalo News, saying, “Yes, I did it. I just didn’t remember the fact that I published it; I couldn’t remember.”
News 4 reached out to Paladino Wednesday but has not yet been able to get in contact with him. News 4 did uncover an email blast Paladino sent from his personal account on June 1 that contained the same message as the Facebook post.
The June 1 post on Paladino’s account, which was first reported by the website Media Matters, appeared to be a repost of comments attributed to someone named Jeff Briggs, who shared a number of conspiracy theories he believed were tied to gun control, including questions about the racially motivated mass shooting at Tops on Jefferson Ave. in Buffalo.
“I don’t know what you’re referring to right now,” Paladino said Tuesday when reached by News 4. “Somebody’s been able to post stuff at my Facebook, so we just terminated Facebook.”
Paladino said he does not manage his page, but posts are only shared when he directs them to be.
“I don’t post. I don’t even know how to get on Facebook. My assistant does our posting only when I told her to post things,” Paladino said.
He said someone else was able to access his page and his assistant is still employed by him. Paladino said he does not stand by the remarks shared in the post.
“No, that’s not true. That’s not me,” Paladino added. “No, that is not my remark.”
In a previous interview with News 4, Paladino said he believes the suspect in the Buffalo mass shooting was mentally ill and the shooting was wrong.
“His mental illness went into being a racist. He went there to purposely kill Black people. It’s wrong. It’s terribly wrong,” Paladino said on Friday, two days after the alleged post was shared on his page.
Paladino has submitted documentation confirming his statement of candidacy to the Federal Election Commission, records show. He held a campaign event Tuesday at the Country Inn & Suites hotel in West Seneca.
News 4 reported Monday that New York State Republican Party chairman Nick Langworthy is also expected to run in the district as a substitution for Chris Jacobs, who announced he will not run for reelection.
The primary election will take place August 23.
Race for NY-23
Tara Lynch is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as a reporter in 2022. She previously worked at WETM in Elmira, N.Y., a sister station of News 4. You can follow Tara on Facebook and Twitter and find more of her work here.