House GOP candidate shares post claiming Buffalo, Uvalde shootings were false flag operations

A congressional candidate in New York endorsed by a member of House GOP leadership recently shared a Facebook post claiming the mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, were false flag operations.

Carl Paladino, a Buffalo businessman and former candidate for governor, reposted a conspiracy theory-laced message by another person casting doubt on whether the shootings at a supermarket in Buffalo and an elementary school in Uvalde were real, according to screenshots of the since-deleted post from Wednesday captured by the watchdog group Media Matters for America.

Paladino has been endorsed by Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, the No. 3 Republican in the House. He is running for the seat held by GOP Rep. Chris Jacobs, who recently announced he was ending his re-election bid after he came out in support of a federal ban on so-called assault weapons. The 23rd Congressional District includes suburbs of Buffalo.

“I am proud to announce my endorsement of my friend Carl Paladino in NY-23,” Stefanik wrote in a Facebook post Friday. “Carl is a job creator and conservative outsider who will be a tireless fighter for the people of New York in our fight to put America First to save the country.”

NBC News has reached out to Paladino’s campaign and Stefanik’s office for comment.

“In almost every mass shooting including the most recent horrific Buffalo Tops Market & the Texas school shootings, there are strange occurrences that are never full explained,” the Facebook post states before it claims the goal is take guns away from Americans.

In a false-flag operation, one side of a conflict commits an act and tries to make it appear that the other side committed it, often for political purposes.

Reached for comment Tuesday by The Buffalo News, Paladino denied ever posting the text to his Facebook page.

“I told my secretary to remove it. It was just terrible, and I would never write something like that,” Paladino told the newspaper, adding that he had “no idea” how the post appeared on his page.

“I don’t even know how to post on Facebook,” Paladino said.

The post appeared shortly after a House Republican claimed the Uvalde shooter was transgender. In a since-deleted tweet, Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona claimed the gunman was “a transsexual leftist illegal alien.”

NBC News has reached out to Gosar’s office for comment.