NEW YORK (JTA) — A possible contender for New York governor apologized for comparing an Orthodox Jewish lawmaker to the Antichrist.
Chris Collins, the Erie County executive, had come under fire for saying in a speech Saturday night to Republicans in Buffalo that he was “pretty sure” the third Antichrist is state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, referencing the Nostradamus prediction that three Antichrists will appear before the Apocalypse.
“While we may disagree strongly on policy matters, my statement had no place in our political discourse and I am truly sorry to both the speaker and to anyone else who I may have offended,” Collins said through his spokesman, according to the New York Daily News.
A spokesman for Silver declined to comment on the Collins apology.
The comment by the Republican lawmaker was meant to reference Albany’s "three men in a room" budget process in which the governor, the Senate majority leader and the Assembly speaker make legislative deals in private.
“No one clapped. No one cheered. No one laughed. I know I didn’t," a Western New York Republican told the Daily News. "I thought it was a little harsh to be calling someone an Antichrist.”
Napoleon Bonaparte and Adolf Hitler are generally accepted as the first and second Antichrists in the Nostradamus prediction.