During the junior GOP debate on CNN Tuesday evening, candidate George Pataki mistakenly called Donald Trump "president" while describing the absurdity of the latter's recent comments. Moderator Wolf Blitzer asked Pataki, the former governor of New York, about Trump's recent proposal to temporarily ban Muslims from the U.S., and Pataki proceeded to denounce politicians' inability to distinguish between "Muslims and radical jihadists." Pataki also insisted that "Donald Trump is the Know-Nothing candidate of the 21st century and he cannot be our nominee." In doing so, however, Pataki made a serious mistake.
Absolutely, it's one of many absurd things this president has said, to target a religion and say that regardless of whether you're an American soldier who's fought on our side or allies we have overseas simply because of your religion we're going ban you is un-American, it is unconstitutional and it is wrong.
His gaffe did not escape Twitter's attention. Although Pataki received applause from the audience in Las Vegas after declaring that "we have to embrace the Muslims who embrace our freedom and living in safety," many people took to social media to call Pataki out for getting ahead of himself in describing Trump as the president, rather than as a candidate. You can hear Pataki saying this here:
Everyone from Ann Coulter to Anderson Cooper had something to say about Pataki's mistake.
For his part, Trump — who has been tweeting furiously throughout the junior debate — does not actually want Pataki's perhaps accidental "endorsement."
And, unsurprisingly, Trump also went on to retweet an insult toward the former governor.
This is not the first time Trump and Pataki have gone head to head. Over the summer, Pataki posted a letter denouncing Trump's offensive comments about Mexican immigrants, and in response, Trump lashed out at his fellow Republican candidate.
Pataki has been positioning himself against Trump for quite some time now, and it is unlikely that he intended to endorse Trump in his comments during the junior debate — especially while fiercely criticizing him. Nevertheless, it was a sizable error, and will likely be one of Pataki's most memorable moments from this election season. He has been steadily polling at less than one percent for months, and while this mistake certainly caught everyone's attention, it is likely not going to do anything to help him.