(CNN) – Donald Trump is rising in the polls despite losing support from his business partners over recent comments he made.
This, while other Republican presidential candidates are struggling to gain momentum and regain the spotlight.
Now, one Republican presidential candidate is trying to lead the charge and fight back.
Former New York governor George Pataki Friday launched an online petition urging Americans to “stand up to Trump”, after calling on his GOP rivals to “denounce” the former reality TV star.
Pataki said, “On these comments about Mexicans that are so divisive, he’s flat out wrong.”
On Twitter, Trump firing back at Pataki, calling Pataki a “terrible governor of New York” who “couldn’t be elected dog catcher if he ran again.”
A change of heart from when Pataki was governor, and Trump donated to his campaign.
But companies doing business with Trump appear to agree with Pataki — cutting ties with the real estate mogul over the controversial comments made at his campaign announcement.
Trump: “They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists and some, I assume are good people.”
Macy’s, saying they’ll no longer sell Trump clothing. NBC Universal and Univision backing out of carrying the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants, partly owned by Trump.
Trump says, “What NBC and Univision did to these young women was disgraceful. They never had them in mind.”
But even Stan Hubbard, the chief executive of the network that picked up the pageant, Reelz TV, dismissed the Donald’s remarks. “I agree with everything that NBC and Macy’s are saying. The comments are ridiculous.”
Former pageant contestants also rejecting Trump’s rhetoric. Marybel Gonzalez, Miss Colorado USA 2012, said, “I think it’s extremely dangerous to generalize a population and attribute such hateful comments to them.”
But Trump remains steadfast in his position, telling CNN’s Don Lemon that his statement was backed up by a 2014 Fusion report about Central American women being raped while traveling to the border.
Trump: “All you have to do is go to Fusion and pick up the stories on rape.”
Lemon: “That’s about women being raped. It’s not about criminals coming across the border.”
Trump: “Well, somebody’s doing the raping, Don.”
Amid the controversy, Trump has surged in the polls, now up to second place nationally and in the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire.
Friday, Trump again called for a wall to be built around America. He said the killing of a woman in San Francisco by a man police say is an undocumented immigrant is proof America must secure the border immediately.