Carl Paladino gives speech to UB College Republicans
Local politician discusses relationship to President Trump, sanctuary campuses and liberal bias
Carl Paladino thinks if people do not like him, they should “turn off the TV and go for a walk.”
The Buffalo School Board member and former chair of President Donald Trump’s New York campaign addressed 60 students in 106 Knox Hall on Monday night. Halfway through his speech, roughly 15 students interrupted the speech in protest.
“We call for the removal of Carl Paladino from the University at Buffalo campus. He abuses his position to spread transphobia, homophobia and sexism. Carl Paladino is not welcome on the University at Buffalo campus,” protestors chanted. The speech attendees responded with laughter and applause.
Two police officers asked the protestors to leave. The demonstrators dispersed quickly and peacefully.
“Every little whine is them suffering pain because they lost,” Paladino said regarding the protestors.
A student asked Paladino how Republican students can stand up for their beliefs on a more liberal campus such as UB.
“Get ‘Make America Great Again’ shirts and put them on and if anyone bothers you, call a police officer and don’t ever marginalize your values,” Paladino said.
Paladino discussed his role as chair of Trump’s New York campaign and his current relationship with the president. He is proud of his role in the Trump campaign because he feels he was a part of changing the country for the next 30 years. He believes Trump is good for the middle class and has the characteristics of a leader.
“[Trump is] sincere, talented…he has been there, he knows problems. He feels an obligation to the American people because he has had such great success,” Paladino said.
Paladino said that as president, Trump will “go back to basics” and “clean up the swamp” in Washington, D.C. He believes Trump was elected because middle class Americans are “sick and tired of being treated like second class citizens.”
“The guy can deal with anything, he is totally dedicated to his mission. You couldn’t find a better guy to have his finger on the football,” Paladino said.
Paladino also discussed his stance on immigration.
In regards to President Satish Tripathi’s support of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an immigration policy started by the Obama administration that allows certain immigrants who entered the country as minors to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and eligibility for a work permit, Paladino said, “I think Satish should look for another job.”
“Sanctuary campus is about protecting criminals…people who violate our laws and are here illegally should be gone,” Paladino said. The audience applauded.
Paladino went on to clarify Trump’s stance on immigration.
“The press has maligned [Trump’s] platform [on immigration]. He is not going to deport kids, parents, or good, industrious people,” he said.
Paladino said he supports Trump’s travel ban because he believes it is important for immigrants to be thoroughly vetted.
“You can’t vet a person from Yemen because they don’t have established institutions that can confirm whether someone is a good person,” Paladino explained. “I don’t think it is unreasonable to ban countries that do not have systems for vetting.”
He also addressed his recent controversial remarks in Art Voice. He said he was “a little bit angry” that day and said some “cruel things.”
“I regret that. It wasn’t nice what I said. But I said it on a day when [President Obama] released 650 people from jail and the First Lady said there was no hope for our country. I wasn’t calling out a race, but the bad guys, the snowflakes, want that to be there,” Paladino said.
Reed Tighe, a senior political science major and president of College Republicans, said that the College Republicans invited Paladino because they wanted to bring in a speaker that “shows the conservative side.”
“A lot of students were excited to hear about the relationship he has with the president, and he clarified a lot of things. People tend to have false perceptions and it was good for them to hear another side,” Tighe said.
Kirsten Dean, a sophomore biology major, liked how Paladino “spoke freely.”
“As a College Republican, especially at this school, you always feel like you have to censor yourself. So it was really refreshing to hear someone say the thoughts that a lot of us are thinking without a filter,” Dean said.
Nicole Jones, a first year master’s student, felt Paladino “skirted around” certain topics such as the Republican treatment of minorities.
“He made excuses for his sexist, racist, transphobic behavior,” Jones said. “He doesn’t understand the systemic and institutionalized oppression of minorities. As a Buffalo School Board member, he should be seasoned in this type of discourse.”
Tighe feels that while the protest was “a little annoying,” students have a right to free speech.
“People are going to express their rights and opinions and if that’s what they want to do on a Monday night, that’s what they want to do. It was peaceful. They said what they had to say and they left. I’m all for freedom of speech,” said Nathaniel Feldman, a junior business major.
Dean, however, felt that the protest was disrespectful.
“It is a little disrespectful to the speaker who took the time out of their night to come here and share their opinion, and just to be interrupted like that,” Dean said. “That was off-putting to me, but everyone has a right to their own opinion and a right to voice it and if that’s how they choose to voice it, that’s on them.”
Jones said she admired the protestors’ demonstration.
“I am really proud of them because it was a difficult thing to come to a room full of people who don’t believe in your full humanity and actually say something,” she said. “It’s necessary to be vocal in times like this. So they did what they could do to let people know that UB is representative of progressive ideals.”
Maddy Fowler is the assistant news editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org