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Trump ‘friend’ and N.Y. campaign co-chair says he wants Obama dead of ‘mad cow disease’ in 2017

American businessman Carl Paladino at Trump Tower on Dec. 5 in New York. (Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty Images)

Carl Paladino, a former Republican nominee for governor of New York and an adviser to president-elect Trump, included the death of President Obama and “return” of first lady Michelle Obama to Africa on his list of things he wanted for 2017.

Paladino was responding to a survey by an alternative weekly magazine, Artvoice.

Asked what he would like to happen in 2017, he said he hopes that “Obama catches mad cow disease” and dies after having relations with a Hereford, a type of cattle. Asked what he would most like to see go, Paladino responded that Michelle Obama would “return to being male” and be “let loose” in Zimbabwe.

Full exchange:

Artvoice: What would you most like to happen in 2017?

Carl Paladino: Obama catches mad cow disease after being caught having relations with a Herford. He dies before his trial and is buried in a cow pasture next to Valerie Jarret, who died weeks prior, after being convicted of sedition and treason, when a Jihady cell mate mistook her for being a nice person and decapitated her.

Artvoice: What would you most like to see go in 2017?

Carl Paladino: Michelle Obama. 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.

In a statement to The Post, Paladino denied that the comments were racist.

“It has nothing to do with race,” Paladino said. “That’s the typical stance of the press when they can’t otherwise defend the acts of the person being attacked.”

“It’s about 2 progressive elitist ingrates who have hated their country so badly and destroyed its fabric in so many respects in 8 years,” he added.

Reached briefly by phone Friday, Paladino confirmed that he made the comments and that he is currently involved in Trump's transition efforts.

“I don't think Mr. Trump particularly cares what I have to say,” Paladino said. “He knows me. I was active with him, and I still am active with him.

“And that's it. I'll say what I feel like saying.”

No stranger to controversy, Paladino has repeatedly over the years attacked Obama privately and publicly — including pushing the falsehood that Obama is Muslim. During his gubernatorial race, Paladino was accused of sending graphically racist and sexist emails — some of them concerning Obama — to his circle of friends. Paladino never denied sending the emails but called them a “smear.”

As recently as Dec. 5, Paladino visited Trump Tower after the election.

“We're friends,” Paladino told reporters afterward. “My meeting was good.”

And this week, Paladino, a Buffalo school board member, sought to have photos of Trump hung in all of the city's schools.

A Trump spokeswoman condemned Paladino's comments but did not comment on the future of his work for the transition. “Carl's comments are absolutely reprehensible, and they serve no place in our public discourse,” said spokeswoman Jessica Ditto.

Others have been quick to denounce Paladino, a political figure who has come to be known for the cloud of controversy that often surrounds him.

In a statement, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat,  slammed Paladino for a “long history of racist and incendiary comments.”

“Carl Paladino, a Republican Party official from Western New York, made racist, ugly and reprehensible remarks about President Obama and the First Lady Michelle Obama,” Cuomo said. “While most New Yorkers know Mr. Paladino is not to be taken seriously, as his erratic behavior defies any rational analysis and he has no credibility, his words are still jarring.

“His remarks do not reflect the sentiments or opinions of any real New Yorker and he has embarrassed the good people of the state with his latest hate-filled rage,” Cuomo added.

Here’s a look back at some of the most interesting people who've met with Trump to date. (Video: Deirdra O'Regan/The Washington Post)

A statement from oPaladino’s alma mater, St. Bonaventure University, where he once served on the board of trustees, denounced his comments.

“Mr. Paladino’s remarks in ArtVoice are reprehensible and in complete contradiction to the values of St. Bonaventure University,” said Andrew Roth, the university’s president. “At St. Bonaventure we believe in an inclusive community that values diversity as a strength.

“While as educators we know we never attain 100%, it is reasonably certain that the vast majority of St. Bonaventure’s extended family — students, Franciscans, faculty, staff and alumni — share in the rejection of Mr. Paladino’s comments and the comments of any who violate our shared values of individual dignity, community inclusiveness and service to others,” he added.