George Pataki

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George Pataki was the Governor of New York from 1995-2006. He was in office during the September 11th terror attacks and coordinated the state’s response. Pataki served briefly as a U.S. delegate to the United Nations during the 2007 UN General Assembly session. He announced his campaign for the Republican nomination in May 2015 via a video on his website.



On the Issues

AAI tracks statements, non-statements, and the track records of each presidential candidate on the issues we care about most. Click on an issue to read what George Pataki has said on the campaign trail.


Foreign Policy     

Domestic Policy


U.S. Role in the Middle East 

Voting Rights 


U.S. Response to ISIL

Civil Rights + Civil Liberties








Community Policing




Bigoted Speech


Iran Negotiations 

Immigration Reform

Key Advisors

  • Brian Seitchik: Campaign Manager. He is an experienced California campaign staffer, and worked as the Communications Spokesman for the California Republican Party in 2010, as the Campaign Manager for former Sen. George LeMieux’s (R-FL) unsuccessful 2012 Senate bid, and as Chief of Staff for Congressman Dan Lungren (CA-3).

SuperPAC Support: “We the People, Not Washington” PAC.


The U.S. Role in the Middle East

“And I learned that we cannot assume that because radical Islam is a continent away, it doesn't pose a threat to us here in America. It did then, and today, I think, we are at greater risk of an attack than at any time since." (September 2015, 2nd Republican Debate)

“Think back a year ago when ISIS emerged as beyond the JV team and the president said we’re going to degrade and destroy them over time using the strategy we’ve used in Yemen. Yemen just fell to Houthi Shia radical Islamists. That’s not the right strategy.” (May 2015, The Hill)

My older son was a Marine in Anbar for a year during the time of the surge, and to see the gains lost because we pulled every last soldier out and created this vacuum, I think it’s tragic for Iraq, but more importantly, it’s dangerous us.” (May 2015, The Hill)

U.S. Response to ISIL

"We have to send troops with allies and supporters.  Wherever it is necessary to destroy the training centers, recruitment centers, planning hubs of ISIS." (December 2015, CNN GOP Debate)

"We have got to destroy ISIS's ability to attack us here. But it's not 10,000 troops. It's not 20,000 troops.” (September 2015, 2nd Republican Debate)

"These are not individuals who wake up in the middle of the night and become inspired to become radical jihadists. They are inspired by internet propaganda, by social media, by mullahs preaching in prisons, or in the United States. The person who killed our Marine recruiters in Chattanooga – I don’t consider that a lone wolf. I consider that an outgrowth of our toleration of radical jihad propaganda in the United States which should be stopped. But in addition – there’s no question – that whether it’s Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula or ISIS and others, they would like to carry out another mass attack like September 11th which is why we simply cannot allow them to continue to control territory, have weapons of mass destruction, social media capability, and thousands of people with western passports." (September 2015, Hugh Hewitt radio show)

"What I think we should do is first empower the Kurds, the Sunni, and Anbar who share our views; the Yazidis and others. Stop sending all our aid through Baghdad. Send it directly to the Peshmerga and to the Sunni on our side and arm and train them. Up our bombing raids against ISIS, and if need be, send in special ops, destroy their recruiting and training centers [and] planning-ups and then get out. No long-term wars. No ten-thousand boots on the ground." (September 2015, Hugh Hewitt radio show)

"I don't want to see us putting in a million soldiers, spend 10 years, a trillion dollars, trying to create a democracy where one hasn't existed. But send in troops, destroy their training centers, destroy their recruitment centers, destroy the area where they are looking to plan to attack us here and then get out. And leave a little note behind: ‘if you come back, so will we’." (May 2015, CNN)

"I would provide the weapons, training and financial support to help those fighting on the ground — whether it is Kurds, Jordanians or Sunnis. We cannot allow them to have recruiting centers, training centers and plans to attack us here in America. If necessary, we will send in American boots on the ground to destroy those training centers, destroy those planning centers and then get out.” (May 2015, Newsmax)

“I would also put American troops as advisors and as observers on the front line working with Kurdish force, Baghdad, and the Sunnis. I would greatly expand air attacks on those safe havens using whatever intelligence we can get. But if all else fails…I would use American forces.” (June 2015, CNN)

“We have got to destroy their training camps over there before they can attack us here. I don't agree that we're going to occupy and spend another decade or a trillion dollars. What we need to do is destroy their ability to attack us here over there, and then get out. You know, I have two sons. Both served. One as a marine officer in Iraq, one as an army officer in Afghanistan. I do not see -- want to see one parent or loved one worrying about getting a call in the middle of the night. I would not place one American life at risk unless it was absolutely necessary. But to destroy ISIS, it is necessary.” (August 2015, Fox News Debate)


No statements recorded. If you'd like to submit a statement to appear on this website, please email Kristin McCarthy.


“I would also look at what we're doing at the federal level and put in place what Israel has done: a -- one federal agency dealing with cybersecurity and charged with working across silos to make sure we have the best technology.” (October 2015, CNBC GOP Debate)

“Allies and friends of America must know that our word is our bond. We will stand with our ally Israel, a democracy on the front lines of terror and barbarism.” (May 2015, Announcement Speech)


No statements recorded. If you'd like to submit a statement to appear on this website, please email Kristin McCarthy.

Iran Nuclear Deal 

I'll tell you a couple of things I'd do. I'd give the Israelis bombs called MOPs, massive ordnance penetrators. Give them to Israel. Let the Iranians know we're prepared to work with Israel to make sure they never have a nuclear weapon.” (September 2015, 2nd Republican Debate)

“Not on the table but I think there's a lot that does work. And that is to have a strong America, a strong military and a resolve where the Iranians know that not only are we going to reject this deal on day one and reimpose sanctions but, if they move forward with the nuclear program, their safety for those facilities will be at risk." (September 2015, 2nd Republican Debate)

“We will make sure the number one sponsor of state terror in the world, Iran, never has a nuclear weapon.” (May 2015, Announcement Speech)

“The Iranian nuclear deal — this is one of the worst examples of failed diplomacy posing grave risk to America and our allies." (July 2015, Newsmax)

Voting Rights

No statements recorded. If you'd like to submit a statement to appear on this website, please email Kristin McCarthy.

Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

"I think it's very important that we do everything in our power to prevent radicalization of Americans right here. And, it is happening, not just overseas, but it's happening here from mosques, on social media, and truth -- interaction and community meetings." (December 2015, CNN GOP Debate)

“There’s a place where religion supersedes the rule of law. It’s called Iran. It shouldn’t be the United States." (September 2015, 2nd Republican Debate

“If she worked for me, I would have fired her. When you’re an elected official and you take an oath of office to uphold the law, all the laws, you cannot pick and choose or you no longer have a society that depends on the rule of law.” (September 2015, 2nd Republican Debate)

Q: If you were governor of Kentucky what would you do with Kim Davis? Pataki: "Well I couldn't fire her because she was elected, but I would remove her from office. You cannot have people just pick and choose what laws they are going to enforce. Just for a minute imagine if she was a Muslim who said because of her faith she was not going to marry gays. There wouldn't be this kind of would have been 'no.' We do not want theocracy here, we do not want religion superseding the rule of law." (September 2015, Fox News Radio)

When asked how he would combat ISIS propaganda and influence, Pataki said "I think we have to be far more aggressive in monitoring social media – Twitter, Facebook, and the rest. I’m a great believer in the 1st Amendment and freedom of speech, but the Constitution clearly spells out that you cannot shout fire in a crowded theater. That’s not protected speech. That is a crime. Urging an American to engage in violent acts against other Americans in the name of jihad is not speech protected by the 1st Amendment. It is beyond even shouting fire in a crowded theater and it is criminal speech that can be prosecuted, and I would do that." (September 2015, Hugh Hewitt radio show)

"I think what Great Britain just did in using drones against British terrorists was the right thing. I think what we did in using the drones against Al-Malaki [and] Al-Iraqi was the right thing. If they are overseas enemy combatants engaged in terror, we should do everything in our power to kill them." (September 2015, Hugh Hewitt radio show)

"If Kim Davis worked for me, I would have fired her. Public officials don't get to pick & choose which laws we uphold." (September 2015, @GovernorPataki)


"Companies are entitled to encrypt and protect their knowledge and their intelligence.  But what we need is a back door for law enforcement to be able, when they can establish that that communication poses a risk to our safety and engages in terrorism, to get a court order and go in and access those communications.  Allow the companies to continue encryption, provide an entry way for law enforcement when they can prove to a court that there is a sufficient risk of an attack upon us that they have the right to look at those messages." (December 2015, CNN GOP Debate)

"Getting to that metadata question, one of those terrorists, the day before the attacks, had sent 109 message to a known terrorist overseas. We could not read those messages, we can not read those today." (December 2015, CNN GOP Debate)

"New York police department had a very active group, aggressively monitoring and using intelligence to -- in certain Muslim communities, consistent with our constitution, consistent of our civil rights, so they could have the intelligence as to where these sermons are being given, and who is being radicalized. And, they stopped and prevented dozens, and dozens of attacks in New York." (December 2015, CNN GOP Debate)

"I think that is the key, is how do you balance our personal liberty and our safety? And I think they have worked very hard to do that. When Edward Snowden first revealed this program, I was outraged. And I thought how can the NSA be sitting around listening to my phone calls to my kids? But I looked into it since that point and that's not the case. The only thing they are authorized to do is to collect numbers. They can't even look at those numbers, let alone know who is on that phone call or what the content of the call is, without going to a court and getting the equivalent of a warrant and proving there is a reason to find out what that contact is. I think losing that authority is very dangerous. We could know someone here is planning to engage in a terrorist attack, but we can't find out who they've within talking to here. That is dangerous." (June 2015, CNN interview

“I think we should re-authorize the Patriot Act. The alternative bill doesn’t require the private sector to hold those phone records and without them we are more vulnerable to attack.” (June 2015, CNN)

"@DrRandPaul let’s not forget lessons of 9/11, with ISIS openly recruiting online, letting the #PatriotAct go dark will make us less safe.” (May 2015, @GovernorPataki)

Community Policing

No statements recorded. If you'd like to submit a statement to appear on this website, please email Kristin McCarthy.

Bigoted Speech: Instances of Condemnation and/or Use

*The Arab American Institute is leading a campaign to hold public officials accountable for their bigoted rhetoric this election cycle. Join us by signing our Pledge to Combat Bigotry, and use #NoBigotry on social media to hold candidates accountable and thank candidates who stand against it.*

"To target a religion and say that regardless of whether you're an American soldier who has fought on our side our allies we have overseas simply because of your religion we'll ban you is un-American. It is unconstitutional and it is wrong." (December 2015, CNN GOP Debate)

"I'm not going to engage in the type of personal insults, the type of divisiveness, the type of demeaning of ethnic racial groups of Mexicans, of women, of African does get frustrating at times because all the oxygen gets sucked out the room by a guy who goes around insulting people and dividing and demonizing parts of our American culture, but it will stop." (September 2015, Fox News Radio)

"when you have incident after incident from Fort Hood to Chattanooga, and when you have someone on there saying it is not just appropriate, it is required by Sharia law to engage in violent jihad against non-believers including your fellow Americans, I believe there is a very reasonable chance this Supreme Court this is not protected speech." (September 2015, Hugh Hewitt radio show)

“[R]eligious liberty doesn't include encouraging a fellow American to engage in violent jihad and kill an American here. That is not protected free speech. That is not protected religious belief. That is like shouting ‘fire’ in a crowded theater, and that is illegal, and I would do everything in our power not just to go after those who are here who we know who are here, before they can radicalize other Americans to carry out attacks, and it's not just the ones they've arrested. Think back to Garland, Texas. But for that Texas police officer, we could have had a mass murder. We have to shut down their internet capability. We have to shut down, whether or not they're in prisons preaching or on -- in mosques preaching. No radical Islam that is allowed to engage in encouraging violence against Americans, that is not protected speech. Let me just add one thing about ISIS over there. We have got to destroy their training camps and recruiting centers.” (August 2015, Washington Post)

Immigration Reform

“I don't -- I don't think that we should tell that child born in America that we're going to send them back. The way to avoid that is to have an intelligent immigration policy where we know who is coming here, why they are coming here, so we don't have this flood of people coming here for the wrong reasons.” (September 2015, 2nd Republican Debate)

“We have to deal with the people who are here illegally. We can't just ignore them, or send them back. I think my policy would work to give them legal status, make them a part of an economy that will grow, and help America.” (September 2015, 2nd Republican Debate)

"I don't support amending the Constitution to kick out kids who were born here." (August 2015, MSNBC News)

Regarding Donald Trump’s comments about Mexicans being drug dealers and rapists, "I do worry when one of the leading people in the polls for my party's presidential position takes a position that is so completely abhorrent to what I believe.I share the frustration, yes I think he has tapped into a chord of people who do not want to see millions of people come here illegally, but that does not justify demonizing an entire group of people." (July 2015, CNN)

“My fellow Republicans like to talk about how we have to appeal to the Latino vote if we are going to win back the White House. They speak some Spanish, boast about “telling it like it is,” or counsel to not be afraid to lose the primary to win the general – yet so far have been silent when it comes to denouncing these sad and divisive remarks.” (July 2015, Letter to other GOP candidates)