Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino, who co-chaired the Trump campaign in New York, said Tuesday that derogatory remarks he made about President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama were “inappropriate,” but stopped short of saying he regretted them.

Paladino, who also was the Republican candidate for New York governor in 2010, said his remarks were supposed to be sent only to a few friends. Instead, he said he mistakenly emailed them to Artvoice, a weekly Buffalo newspaper.

In the email, Paladino said he hopes Obama catches the lethal mad cow disease after “having relations” with a cow and dies before he is on trial for sedition. As for the first lady, Paladino stated: “I’d like to see her returning to being a male and let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe where she lives comfortably with Maxie, the gorilla.”

Paladino didn’t exactly take back the words Tuesday but said he made them at an “emotional” time.

“I never intended to hurt the minority community who I spent years trying to help out of the cycle of poverty in our inner cities,” Paladino said in a statement. “To them I apologize.”

He added: “I publicly took responsibility for what I said and confirmed those were my answers, but believe it or not, I did not mean to send those answers to Artvoice. Not that it makes any difference because what I wrote was inappropriate under any circumstance. I filled out the survey to send to a couple friends and forwarded it to them not realizing that I didn’t hit ‘forward’ I hit ‘reply.’ All men make mistakes.”

Nevertheless, Paladino went on to criticize the “rabid hordes of attacking parasites we now call activist progressives.” Last week, he wrote off criticism about the incident to “retarded liberal people.”

The Trump campaign last week denounced Paladino’s remarks. Politicians and activists in Buffalo widely derided him, calling on Paladino to resign from the city school board. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who routed Paladino in 2010, called the remarks his adversary’s “latest hate-filled rage.”

Paladino had been one of Trump’s earliest supporters and his point man in New York, and he introduced the Republican candidate at many rallies in the state during the campaign. Further, Paladino has been used by Trump as a surrogate in national news interviews.

Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) said Tuesday that the Trump team should be considering severing its ties with Paladino.

“What he said was disgraceful and irresponsible,” King said. “There’s no way that’s humor. You can say things that are politically incorrect. You can say things that you consider a dark humor. But, no, that was totally disgraceful really. . . . If they don’t sever him now, they have to say that one more time like that and you’re gone.”

With Emily Ngo