In an exclusive interview with Breitbart News at the South Carolina Freedom Summit this weekend, former New York Governor George Pataki provided a taste of what a Pataki presidency would look like, should he decide to formally enter the increasingly crowded race.
“I am concerned that America is at a tipping point. We face two challenges to our freedom, and I think they are the greatest threats to our freedom of our lifetime,” he said. He added, “The first is an ever-more powerful, intrusive and expensive Washington, D.C., that, instead of responding to what the people want, [they] want to dictate to us how we have to respond to their laws.” And the second is radical Islamic terrorism.
He told Breitbart News Executive Chairman Stephen K. Bannon that what Washington, D.C., has become–an “arrogant Washington, D.C.”–is precisely “what the Founding Fathers feared: a central government that would become more and more powerful over time.” It’s time to “take it back,” he said.
Pataki served as governor of New York during September 11 and said that America faces “the greatest risk” of radical Islamic terrorism since that fateful day. He cited the recent terrorism that took place in Garland, Texas, where two Islamic jihadists opened fire on an art exhibit where depictions of Muhammad were displayed before the two men were taken down by an armed security officer; he was also shot. Three Breitbart News writers were present at the terrorist scene. Pamela Geller has received a fatwa (religious edict) calling for her execution by Islamic State militants in America.
“This is radical Islamic terror. We can’t pretend that just because it’s overseas that it doesn’t affect us here” in America. He relayed that he would take a completely different approach to the war than President Obama and would ensure America was destroying ISIS training camps, recruitment centers, and social media to thwart its spread and the influence it has over lone wolf actors; potentially thousands of lone wolf terrorists are throughout America.
“If Yemen is the example, then we are in trouble.” Yemen was President Obama’s model for countering terrorism. The capital fell to Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in January of this year and ignited a proxy war as Saudi Arabia–Iran’s mortal enemy–entered the arena to fight Houthis from encroaching upon the border which it shares with Yemen. “Iran is the #1 [state]-sponsor of terror,” and the Iranian regime is “about as trustworthy as a snake in a basket.” They are “a disaster waiting to happen,” he stated with conviction.
Reflecting upon his time in office, Pataki said he was proud to be the only person in the history of New York State to have won the election running both as a Republican and on the conservative party line. He credited his success, however, to the hard work he carried out after he declared his victory. “It’s not just winning an election; it’s about what you do after you win.” His accomplishments include “smaller government, less taxes, safer streets, over 1 million fewer people on welfare, and [the creation of] over 700,000 jobs.”
He said he achieved this by showing the people that “the Democrats, the liberals, the left have created a system where they don’t believe in you. They think you can’t take care of yourself. You don’t have the ability to live the American dream, so they make you dependent on government.”
Pataki said he helped change this by empowering people. And his ability to couch those conservative policies and present them in neighborhoods where constituents do not ordinarily vote Republican helped him achieve a breakthrough.
After all, he said, “It’s not the wealthy who get trapped in low-income schools.”
“I will probably enter this race because I believe in this country,” Pataki said, hinting it would likely happen “sooner than later.” He said, “The can can’t be kicked. We tried that before September 11. It cannot happen again.”
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