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After praising Hitler, a Colombian presidential candidate said he meant to praise Einstein 

Voters go to the polls on Sunday to decide whether TikTok star Rodolfo Hernández will lead the country

An independent businessman running for president of Colombia attempted to clarify his past praise of Adolf Hitler ahead of the runoff election Sunday, by saying he confused the Nazi leader with Nobel physicist Albert Einstein.

Rodolfo Hernández, a 77-year-old TikTok star, is competing with Gustavo Petro, a former rebel and a leftist politician who received 40% of the vote in the first round of the presidential election last month. The candidates are locked in a virtual tie heading into election day, according to recent polls

In a radio interview in 2016, while serving as mayor of the city of Bucaramanga, Hernández said he considers himself a follower “of a great German thinker, who is named Adolf Hitler” and urged his listeners to follow the “recommendations that he gives”.

Hernández apologized “to the Jewish community” when the audio resurfaced last August and claimed it was “slip of the tongue” and that he meant to praise Einstein. 

But it wasn’t the only incident that has led many to wonder about his suitability for office. The self-proclaimed “King of TikTok” once punched a councilman who offended him; he called Venezuelan women a “factory for making poor children” and posed in videos shirtless with models brandishing a Christian cross. Hernández received only 28% in the first round of voting, but has gained traction since. Colombia, a conservative country, has never elected a leftist for president.

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