A UB expert says Paladino’s comment about Garland is dangerous

BUFFALO, NY — Republican congressional candidate for New York’s 23rd district, Carl Paladino, on a Breitbart radio show posted online Saturday, once again created controversy by talking about current US Attorney General Merrick Garland .

“… people like Garland who should not only be impeached, but probably executed. The guy is lost. He’s a lost soul,” Paladino said.

He criticized Garland over the FBI’s search earlier this month of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, but walked back the rhetoric when asked by host Matthew Boyle for an explanation .

“I’m just kidding,” he said. “The man should be removed from office. He shows his incompetence. He wants to put his face in front of people. He has some courage, but his choice of topics and his methodology is very sad.”

University at Buffalo assistant professor of communications Yotam Ophir, who specializes in political discourse, thinks Paladino’s comment is actually dangerous.

“I don’t think it’s a joke at all,” Ophir said. “I think we should treat this statement from a public figure as a threat. This is not a joke. First, it’s not funny. Second, people will take it seriously.”

He noted that Paladino only said it was a joke when the host pushed the issue and said the implication was that Garland is a traitor.

Late last week, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security issued a joint intelligence bulletin warning of increased threats to federal officials and buildings. Ophir said he’s not surprised.

“We’ve gotten to the point where people are willing to dismiss institutions, government institutions like the FBI in favor of basically rumors that are backed by nothing but the trust of the people who spread them,” he said.

Paladino’s campaign on Thursday declined Spectrum News 1’s request to discuss his comments about Garland on camera.

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