Collins, the Erie County, N.Y., Executive, said to be exploring a Republican run for the governor's office, has apologized to New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver for what he called "a poor joke." However, political observers say the fallout from the statement may have harmed his chances, The Buffalo News reported Monday.
Speaking at the annual Erie County Republican Party fundraiser, Collins referred to Nostradamus' prediction that three Antichrists would rise in conjunction with the Apocalypse, saying it's generally accepted that the first was Napoleon, the second Hitler, and that he was "pretty sure" the third is Silver, an orthodox Jew.
"He's the former shining light of the Republican Party," Hank Sheinkopf, a Democratic consultant from Manhattan, told the newspaper. "Never mind the anti-Semitic content. It makes him look nuts, and it doesn't add to the discussion."
"It was staggering," an unnamed Republican told the News. "It took my breath away. You just don't say something like that."