The 13 stages of grief for former New York governor — and long-shot presidential candidate — George Pataki.
Stage 1: Try to get noticed by talking about George Pataki.
“I went up and announced in New Hampshire. We had a tremendous crowd, a lot of enthusiasm. And I crossed New Hampshire after that. The reaction has been very good.”
Alisyn Camerota, CNN: “So looking at the latest poll numbers, the latest Quinnipiac poll. . . . You’re not exactly even at 1 percent yet.”
Pataki: “I totally understand.” (June 1)
Stage 2: Try to get noticed by talking about Rand Paul.
“This is a very dangerous act. I think Rand Paul made a terrible mistake [by trying to force the expiration of some portions of the USA Patriot Act]. I just hope that we don’t have any terrible consequences as a result.” (June 2)
On July 1, a CNN poll showed Paul had fallen to 7 percent. Pataki was still at less than 1 percent.
In the meantime, businessman Donald Trump had climbed to 12 percent.
Stage 3: Try to get noticed by talking about Donald Trump.
— George E. Pataki (@GovernorPataki) July 1, 2015
(July 1. Retweeted 29 times.)
Stage 4: Be attacked by Donald Trump.
.@GovernorPataki was a terrible governor of NY, one of the worst — would’ve been swamped if he ran again!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 1, 2015
(July 1. Retweeted more than 170 times.)
.@GovernorPataki couldn’t be elected dog catcher if he ran again—so he didn’t!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 1, 2015
(July 1. Retweeted more than 260 times.)
Stage 5: Try to get back at Trump, by pointing out that he once said something nice about you.
— George E. Pataki (@GovernorPataki) July 2, 2015
(July 1. Retweeted 19 times.)
Stage 6: Challenge Trump to a one-on-one debate.
“I say, let’s go ‘mano a mano’ on immigration policy. Let’s get past the name calling and have a real substantive discussion.” (July 6)
Stage 6a: Challenge Trump . . . in Spanish.
— George E. Pataki (@GovernorPataki) July 6, 2015
Translation: “Hey @realdonaldtrump, why don’t we stop the insults and go ‘hand to hand’ on [not a real Spanish word] policy.” (July 6)
On July 16, a Fox News poll showed Trump at 18 percent. Pataki was at less than 1 percent.
Stage 7: Forget the debate and start insulting Trump.
(July 18, after Trump had criticized Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a former prisoner of war, because he’d been captured.)
Stage 8: Say Donald Trump is too unimportant to talk about.
“You know, Donald Trump is not going to be president. The Iran [nuclear deal] is meaningful; that’s what we should be talking about. Forgive me.” (July 21)
On August 3, a Fox News poll showed Trump was up to 26 percent. Pataki was at less than 1 percent.
Stage 9: Talk about Donald Trump.
“We should be discussing the idiotic policy he’s advanced where he’s going to say, for example, a 7-, 8-, 9-year-old child born in America, sitting in a third-grade classroom, we’re going to send thousands of police or soldiers or something into that classroom, take that child and send it to a country they’ve never been to, where they may not speak the language, because their parents don’t have the right papers. This is not America. This is not a solution. This is demagoguery.” (Aug. 20)
Stage 10: Be attacked again.
.@GovernorPataki did a terrible job as Governor of New York. If he ran again, he would have lost in a landslide. He and Graham ZERO in polls
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 25, 2015
(Aug. 25. Retweeted more than 490 times.)
Stage 11: Try to get back at him again, with a Twitter burn based on a long-ago change in New York State tax law.
How much money did you make when we abolished the real estate transfer gains tax? https://t.co/p6oNmMiL2n
— George E. Pataki (@GovernorPataki) August 25, 2015
(Aug. 25. Retweeted 12 times.)
As of late August, Pataki had attacked Trump consistently for weeks, far more often than most of his GOP rivals. But, in a Quinnipiac University poll released on Aug. 27, Trump was at 28 percent, still leading the field.
And Pataki was at less than 1 percent.
Another disappointment: On Aug. 26, Pataki’s own political mentor and his closest ally in politics — former New York senator Alfonse D’Amato (R) — snubbed him and endorsed another presidential candidate, Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R).
“He’s a friend. He’s bright. He’s articulate,” D’Amato said of Pataki, according to Newsday. “But there is no way he can carry Ohio.”
Of Trump, the man that Pataki had spent months trying to bring down, D’Amato said, “I think he has touched a lot of people by his candor.”
Stage 12: Keep the faith. This is as bad as it can get.
“The solution advanced by somebody like Trump is un-American and ridiculous. . . . [It] is the summer of sound bites, and politics as reality show. And I’m not very good at sound bites. But I know I’m pretty good at running a government.”
(Aug. 27, speaking to 17 people at a chamber of commerce lunch in Salem, N.H.).
Stage 13: It gets worse.
.@realDonaldTrump I challenge you to a debate Mano a Mano on your wrong-headed view of the 14th Amendment
— James S Gilmore (@gov_gilmore) August 28, 2015
That was former Virginia governor Jim Gilmore, who appears to be an even bigger long shot than Pataki, too far behind even for Trump to insult. On Aug. 28, Gilmore stole Pataki’s idea. It was retweeted five times.