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Carl Paladino is seen in the lobby at Trump Tower on Dec. 5, 2016, in New York City.Drew Angerer / Getty Images, file

GOP candidate says nation's top cop should be executed (then says he's kidding)

Carl Paladino reportedly said Attorney General Merrick Garland should probably be executed. That doesn't sound like a joke to me.


New York Republican and congressional candidate Carl Paladino reportedly said in a recent interview that Attorney General Merrick Garland should be executed. Then Paladino walked it all back, claiming he was just making a lil’ jokey joke.

Just your standard quip about murdering America’s top law enforcement officer.

Just your standard quip about murdering America’s top law enforcement officer.

For over a week now, conservatives have been raging over their dear leader, ex-President Donald Trump, having his estate searched by the FBI. Recent reports pointing to Trump’s improper — and potentially nefarious — possession of classified information should have quieted these concerns. Instead, Trump-loving Republicans are doubling down and turning to threats and fear-mongering in lieu of valid defenses for his actions.

Paladino, who has been endorsed by the third-highest-ranking House Republican, Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, said during an interview with Breitbart last weekend that he thinks Garland “probably should be executed,” The Associated Press reported.

Here’s the excerpt, per the AP:

“So we have a couple of unelected people who are running our government, in an administration of people like Garland, who should be not only impeached, he probably should be executed,” Paladino said. “The guy is just lost. He’s a lost soul. He’s trying to get an image, and his image, his methodology is just terrible. To raid the home of a former president is just — people are scratching their heads and they’re saying, ‘What is wrong with this guy?’”

Later in the interview, Paladino claimed he was being “facetious” and, instead, wants to see Garland removed from office, the AP reported.

“The comment is clear,” a spokesperson told The Buffalo News on Wednesday. “Carl does not think Garland should be executed and when you listen to the interview, when asked what he meant, he stated he was being facetious.”

It’s a sad spin job. Paladino said, quite clearly, that the AG should be killed. His subsequent backtracking seemed to me, at least — merely an attempt to avoid ramifications for possibly inciting violence. Even if you take Paladino's implausible excuse as truth, joking about killing Garland is far from funny. Because, let’s be frank: Conservatives are already threatening law enforcement with violence in response to the Trump search. That includes an alleged Trump supporter killed after attacking an FBI field office with a nail gun. Paladino is throwing gasoline on that fire — and didn’t even have the minimal polish needed to couch his hatred for the DOJ in less-violent terms.

For the unaware: Paladino is a failed New York gubernatorial candidate who has a history of racist, conspiratorial and extremist remarks. Saying a law enforcement official should be executed is the latest entry on a long list of lowlights.