Paladino: "I'm not apologizing for what I said"

Posted at 9:44 PM, Apr 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-20 22:30:58-04

Carl Paladino says his comments were taken out of context during a radio interview Wednesday morning on NPR.

"My intentions are good," Donald Trump's New York campaign Co-Chair told 7 Eyewitness News.

During the radio interview, Paladino used a raccoon exterminator as a metaphor to describe the GOP front runner.  

"People that get onto this bus, the Trump bus, are people that are very, very frustrated with their government as it's been. That's the most important thing. It doesn't matter what kind of person is the exterminator, OK. They want the raccoons out of the basement," Paladino said.

Within hours, the Buffalo developer faced backlash from political commentators, who interpreted his comments as a racial slur.  

7 Eyewitness News Anchor Keith Radford pressed Paladino about whether his comments were directed toward President Barack Obama and his family.

"No. That's a stretch for somebody to go and try to grab onto that," Paladino said. 

"The raccoons were the establishment in Washington, the elites."

Paladino said he took his comments from an open letter written by "an 80-year old American" in March.

 My intentions are to illustrate that there's a political revolution going on right now. It's not simply an election."

"I'm not apologizing for saying what I said, ok. They wanted to go and take a word out of context, they're welcome to do it. That's why we have a First Amendment right."