- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 4, 2017

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - The wealthy businessman who co-chaired Donald Trump’s campaign in New York says there are no lingering problems with the president-elect’s transition team over his widely condemned comments insulting President Barack Obama and his wife.

Carl Paladino refuted reports that he was on the outs with the transition team and not welcome at a fundraiser Thursday in his hometown of Buffalo, New York.

Paladino told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he remains in good standing with the transition team. He said he will attend the fundraiser featuring Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway “if I can get there.”

“My relationship with Trump and the Trump campaign hasn’t changed one bit over this nonsense,” he said. “They were correct in condemning my remark, because my remark was really inappropriate and I apologized for that. That’s as far as it goes.”

A spokesman for Rep. Chris Collins, the fundraiser’s honorary chair, declined to answer questions about the fundraiser and whether Paladino’s remarks had any impact. He referred questions to the transition team.

Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks confirmed Conway would attend the event but did not answer a question about Paladino.

Paladino, the Republican nominee for governor of New York in 2010, is fighting calls to leave Buffalo’s school board over his responses to questions in an alternative newspaper last month. When asked what he’d like to happen in 2017 and what he’d like to see go away, Paladino replied he wanted Obama to die of mad cow disease and the first lady to “return to being a male.”

He later said the remarks weren’t meant for publication.

Buffalo school board President Barbara Nevergold called a special meeting Wednesday to consider hiring an outside lawyer to pursue removal proceedings against Paladino with the state education commissioner. Paladino has said he would not resign.

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