BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Earlier this month, prospective congressional candidate Carl Paladino both shared on Facebook and sent in an email blast a post that invokes "false flag" conspiracy theories in connection to recent mass shootings in his hometown of Buffalo and Uvalde, Texas.
"I didn't write it but did carelessly republish it without clearly reading it," Paladino texted late Wednesday morning.
That's a departure from comments he made to other media outlets, telling both WIVB and The Buffalo News previously that he did not know how the post got on his Facebook page. Paladino appeared to deactivate his account Tuesday.
Media Matters first reported Tuesday the post which among other things questioned how the 18-year-old Buffalo Tops shooting suspect obtained $5,000 in weapons and a $70,000 truck and suggested the Texas shooter was receiving "hypnosis training." The post attributed to a Jeff Briggs from Rochester seems to allude to conspiracies the government is behind mass shootings in order to influence public opinion on its gun reform agenda.
Following reports, Spectrum News 1 also obtained a copy of the same post Paladino forwarded out to email contacts. He confirmed he also sent the email without clearly reading it.
The former Republican gubernatorial candidate and Buffalo Public School Board member announced Friday he would run for the new 23rd Congressional District. That came shortly after Rep. Chris Jacobs pulled out of the race following backlash for his own support of a federal "assault weapons" ban.
Paladino has since met with former President Donald Trump and said he has already collected the required amount of signatures to get on the ballot. Several other candidates could potentially be in a primary including Fredonia businessman Marc Cenedella and New York Sstate Republican Party Chairman Nick Langworthy, who is circulating GOP petitions, although he has not officially said he is running.
Langworthy will likely be on the ballot regardless as the Conservative Party's committee to fill vacancies nominated him after Jacobs declined the nomination. Langworthy and the state GOP have not commented on Paladino's Facebook post at this point.
Paladino is no stranger to controversy, especially when it comes to the internet. He reportedly circulated offensive emails while he was running for governor in 2010, called then First Lady Michelle Obama a man who could be let loose in Zimbabwe to live with a gorilla in a 2016 Artvoice piece, and tweeted in part Lynch@LorettaLynch as well in 2016.
In both the former cases, Paladino also claimed they were mistakes. He said the tweet about the former U.S. attorney general was sent by his assistant.