George Pataki Drops Long-Shot Bid For White House

AP Photo/Jim Cole
AP Photo/Jim Cole
Washington, DC

Former New York Gov. George Pataki has dropped out of the 2016 GOP presidential primary, the Washington Post confirms late Tuesday evening.

“I can confirm the Governor is out,” New Hampshire state Sen. John Reagan, a Pataki endorser, told the Washington Post late Tuesday. “I still believe he is the best man for the job.”

Pataki, who’s attempted to battle unsuccessfully with GOP frontrunner billionaire Donald Trump many times this cycle, had previously flirted with potential presidential bids in past cycles, but had not made the commitment until this year.

“Pataki, 70, had once been an impressive figure in Republican politics: he’d upset a Democratic legend, then-New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, in 1994, and won reelection twice in a famously liberal state,” the Post’s David Fahrenthold and Dave Weigel wrote on Tuesday. “Pataki had flirted with a presidential run three times before, in 2000, 2008, and 2012. But each time, he withdrew. For one reason or another, Pataki said, the moment wasn’t right.”

Pataki has frequently attempted to pick a fight with Trump on the campaign trail, but hasn’t gotten anywhere.

In an interview this summer with Breitbart News Executive Chairman Stephen K. Bannon on Breitbart News Sunday, Pataki argued that Trump “disqualified himself” to be president because of his strong stance against illegal immigration and his fight with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) over the 2008 GOP nominee’s war record.

“It’s not something that anybody believes is worthy of a president of the United States,” Pataki said then. “It’s another reason why Trump has disqualified himself from leading this country… He’s not going to be president of the United States… We should move on to an intelligent discussion of the issues like border security and like doing everything in our power to not allow this Iranian nuclear deal to go forward.”

He subsequently called Trump’s wildly popular immigration plan—in which Trump would deport all of America’s illegal aliens and build a giant wall on the border so no new ones could come through—and Trump’s plan for a temporary ban on Muslims entering America “un-American.”

Later, Pataki stooped to appearing on MSNBC to attack Trump again.

“Donald Trump is like an eighth-grade schoolyard bully spewing nonsense,” Pataki said in October on the liberal network.

“‘I would have stopped September 11 if I was president. I’ll beat China. I’ll make Mexico build and pay for a wall.’ This is all complete nonsense. And more than that, you wonder why all of a sudden he’s going after Bush when it was Clinton—the Clintons had been in power for eight years before September 11. So I don’t know what he’s doing. I just think it makes it plain that this man is not someone who should be president.”

Pataki was so unsuccessful a candidate for the presidency this cycle that he never even appeared on the main debate stage—consistently failing to poll anywhere close to high enough to win an invitation to debate candidates there. What’s more, he ultimately finished the race at less than 1 percent in the polls.

Pataki joins Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal on the list of people who lost their battles against Trump.