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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie On 2016, The Iran Deal, And Gun Violence

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New Jersey Governor Chris Christie joined me on the show today:

Audio:

09-02hhs-christie

Transcript:

HH: On a very bad day for America, I begin with Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey. Governor Christie, welcome, it’s always good to talk to you, even though today, the President got the 34th vote he needs to uphold the Iran deal.

CC: Well, Hugh, let me just say this. Senator Mikulski, Senator Coons, Senator Casey, the President of the United States, the Secretary of State, and the former Secretary of State are now all responsible for any conduct Iran engages in across the world – terrorist activity they sponsor, indirectly or directly, they’re responsible for any deaths that occur. They’re responsible for any threat to Israel, and any threat to the United States, all of which are going to come because of this ridiculous agreement that this president has pushed through purely for what he believes will be his legacy. And this is the one place I agree with the President. This will be his legacy. And he will rank behind Warren Harding among presidents for having done this.

HH: Now this is a nightmare on many grounds. And Ambassador Bolton has written that the last hope the West has actually now is that Israel acts alone, independently to cripple the program to the extent that they can. If Israel does that, even though you don’t know the circumstances, Chris Christie, will you stand unequivocally with Bibi Netanyahu and his government?

CC: Israel is absolutely entitled to act in what they believe to be their sovereign interests. And no country should be able to tell Israel how to do that, especially given the circumstances of Israel’s formation. And so the Israelis have every right to do what they believe is in the best national interest. And as president, I would be supportive of that.

HH: Now I am, I’m frustrated, because the first presidential debate, there was hardly any discussion of the Iran deal. By the time I ask questions at the Reagan Library, it doesn’t matter. It’s now a fait accompli.

CC: Yup.

HH: Did the media fail the country in the last month?

CC: Yes, the media did fail the country in the last month by not pressing this President more. This President compared the Republican caucus in Congress to terrorists, which is apparently the new disease that’s been caught by the Obama White House. Secretary Clinton compared Republicans to terrorists on women’s issues. The President compares Republicans to terrorist in Iran. And this is apparently the normal state of affairs that the mainstream media in this country permits these folks to get away with. And there was no type of really hard analysis by the media on this deal. And so yeah, they did, Hugh. The media did fail the American people on this, but worse yet, those 34 members of the United States Senate have failed. And I want to know this, Hugh. I want to know how much they got paid. I want to know what the President promised them to get their votes, because some of these folks, it makes no sense given their past statements on foreign policy why they would ever vote for this Iranian deal. And so I’d like to know what this is going to costs us later on, because you know we’re going to pay for it. And what’s it going to cost us?

HH: Absolutely.

CC: What pork is he giving out from Washington, D.C. in his budget to buy the votes of these people, because there are individual members of Congress, the House and the Senate, who had to have been bought off.

HH: Let me turn to the media here. Earlier today, Gwen Ifill of PBS tweeted out, Take that, Bibi. That resulted in a number of people slamming her, and she had an extended interview with the Washington Free Beacon. No, it was not a shot at Prime Minister Netanyahu, she wrote, even though it has become apparent that in certain circles, it was taken as one. I was calling attention to what seemed to me criticism directed towards him coming from State. What do you make of both the tweet and the idea that it was just echoing the State Department’s position?

CC: You know, listen, Gwen Ifill should be ashamed of herself. Take that, Bibi? What did she mean? That wasn’t a shot at the Prime Minister? Of course, it was a shot at the Prime Minister. Of course, this is the woman who moderated a vice presidential debate while she was in the midst of marketing the book on what she assumed to be the Obama presidency. So we’re not certainly pretending that Gwen Ifill is some type of independent journalist here. The fact is that she’s an Obama apologist. So that’s fine. She’s put that out there, and she’s being criticized for it, as well she should be. Would she be a bigger supporter of Rouhani? Is that what she’s saying, that Rouhani, who today is talking about, through the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, the fact that we’re still the great Satan, saying today through the Iranian Revolutionary Guard leaders that ballistic missiles are going to continue to be modernized and improved. Is that who Gwen Ifill is for? And quite frankly, who cares who Gwen Ifill is for? I don’t. I don’t care what she says. I don’t care what she thinks. And I don’t care who she’s for. But we do know that she’s an apologist for this President and always has been.

HH: Let’s go back to the aftermath of this. If Israel acts before the election, I would hope whoever the Republican nominee is, or if it happens during the primary when there are still many candidates for the nomination, that they will all stand up and support Israel. Do you think that will happen?

CC: I don’t know what other candidates will do. I can only tell you what this candidate will do. And I will stand behind, this is why I objected to Governor Huckabee’s comments when he said that the Israelis were being marched to the doors of the ovens. Israelis are not marched anywhere by anyone. They are an independent state that depends on us for support. But they have the absolute right to make the sovereign decisions they want to make. And so you know, the Prime Minister makes a sovereign decision that I consider to be appropriate as a candidate, you can guarantee I’ll stand with him and support him.

HH: Now I want to switch to some other tough things. I’ve got some fun things later, Governor, but this is very tough.

CC: All right.

HH: In the last couple of days, Texas Deputy Sheriff Darren Goforth was murdered. Chicago Lieutenant Charles Joseph Gliniewicz was murdered. We do not yet know with any certainty what the facts and circumstances. One appears to be an assassination. We don’t know about the other. And this is a part of a string. We have the assassination of two media reporters. We have the assassinations in the church in Charleston, Mother Emmanuel Church. What is your reaction to what is a rising, violent trend in America?

CC: This is the result of the lawless liberal policies of the Obama administration. This is a president who does not enforce the law. His job, his job as president of the United States is to make sure that the laws are faithfully enforced, and he doesn’t do it. If cities across this country don’t want to enforce the immigration laws, the President says that’s fine, and we have sanctuary cities. If certain states don’t want to enforce the marijuana laws, don’t enforce the marijuana laws. I don’t like them, so why should you do that. That’s the President’s attitude. And now we have a president who was a divisive figure during the controversy in Ferguson, and now what we have is a president who is not standing on the side of fair and just law enforcement, but is actually being a divisive force in this country. And you know, the fact is that what we need in the Oval Office again is someone who is a law enforcer, someone who believes in law and order in this country, and believes in fairness. Hugh, you look at what we did in New Jersey. In Camden, New Jersey, which was considered the most violent city in America, three years ago we fired the entire police force, the entire police force, because they had a bloated union contract, and they were ineffective as law enforcers. So I teamed with a Democratic mayor in Camden. We together fired the entire police force, hired a new one, emphasized community policing where we support law enforcement officers, but encourage them to engage both personally and professionally with the community. And what’s happened in the last three years? In Camden, New Jersey, the murder rate is down 61%. When you put liberal policies in place, from liberal leaders like Bill de Blasio in New York, murder rate is up 9%. In Chicago under Rahm Emanuel, murder is running rampant. In San Francisco, murder is running rampant. This is pretty clear. When you encourage lawlessness, lawlessness occurs. And when you have a person who believes in law and order and will work with the police and support them, and also insist that they engage in the community, you have what happened in Camden, a 61% decline in the murder rate in three years.

HH: Is the rhetoric of the coverage increasing the targets on the backs of police?

CC: You know, I’m not sure. I’m not sure, Hugh, but I’ll tell you this. The silence of the president of the United States on this increases the danger to police officers across the country. He needs to be standing up and saying to everyone in this society, no matter where you live, no matter what your background, your ethnicity, no matter what, that people in law enforcement deserve to be treated with respect. And he needs to say to law enforcement officers as I did when I was the chief federal law enforcement officer in New Jersey for seven years as U.S. Attorney that I expected of every agent under my charge that they would execute the law with fairness and justice to everyone in my state. The President of the United States needs to be saying those two things. If he did, he could personally lower the temperature in this country and increase safety for our law enforcement officers. Instead, he plays political games with it.

HH: Now let me turn back to international affairs. President Xi of China is due here. Scott Walker, your fellow governor, has called for that state visit to be cancelled. Carly Fiorina, Marco Rubio said it should be downgraded, Donald Trump said have him come, but let’s negotiate harder. What does Chris Christie say?

CC: Chris Christie would not cancel a visit of the Chinese president, nor would he downgrade it. What I would do is get the Chinese president in a room, close the door, just keep me and his intelligence officer/interpreter in there, and say okay, Mr. President, enough of testing your limits, the limits of the patience of the American people. And you want a deal? You want to work with me? Let’s work together. Otherwise, we can go to separate quarters and go to it. It’s your call. It’s your decision as to how you want to conduct yourself. And so no, I think it’s exactly the wrong thing, and it shows, I think, a bit of inexperience and naiveté to say, and bluster that is to no effect to say I’m going to cancel the visit. Well, you puff your chest out and then what happens after that? Bring him here, and I will tell you this, when I’m president of the United States, the Chinese president will not doubt for a minute the seriousness of the purpose of the person he’s sitting across from. And I don’t think, no matter all the different things people have said about me over time, Hugh, never have I been misunderstood.

HH: Let’s talk about what the Chinese are doing with their artificial islands. They’ve claimed twelve miles around their artificial islands, maybe even longer. The United States has thus far not sailed through it. They’ve done overflights. Would a Chris Christie as commander-in-chief direct the United States Navy to sail in force through those arbitrary new islands’ twelve mile limits?

CC: I would make sure the Navy sails through those artificial islands, and I’d take Air Force One and fly over it myself.

HH: Oh, that’s a good idea. I like that idea.

CC: The commander-in-chief flew over it. I’d fly right over it, and I’d call the Chinese president from Air Force One to let him know I was doing it.

HH: Now let’s talk about the sequester and the Defense appropriations. Democrats are not moving the Defense appropriations forward. They want the government to shut down. That is clearly President Obama’s plan, whether over Planned Parenthood or over the Defense Department. What is your advice to John Boehner and Mitch McConnell about how to proceed? Should they allow a shutdown to occur because the President forces it? Or should they capitulate?

CC: Well, they’ve put themselves in this position. Speaker Boehner and Senator McConnell put themselves in this position. I would have passed tax reform months ago, real tax reform that Republicans are for, and put it on the President’s desk. I would have passed a repeal and the replacement of Obamacare, and put it on the President’s desk. I would have passed a restriction of the President’s regulatory ability and put it on his desk, and made him decide whether he wanted to veto those things or not so the American people would know who the real obstructionist is. But instead, the Republican Congress, and this includes Senator Rubio, Senator Cruz, Senator Paul, all the folks who are standing on that stage now saying they want to be president. But the fact is, this Congress has done nothing. And my only shock, Hugh, over the fact that Congress has a 13% approval rating is I’d like to find those 13% of the people who actually approve of this. And so…

HH: So you would bust the filibuster, because that’s what keeps those bills from passing, is the filibuster.

CC: I would get rid of the filibuster. You bet I’d get rid of the filibuster. And by the way, and the other thing I’d do, is put term limits on these people. They’ve all been around for too long. 12 years for everybody.

HH: Let’s talk Hillary. The latest batch of emails came out. It is no longer beyond doubt, no one can doubt that she sent classified information that was born classified to people who are outside of the system on an unsecure server.

CC: Well, of course she sent classified information. Of course, she did. We knew that right from the beginning. You know why we knew it? Because she said she didn’t. And Mrs. Clinton never tells the truth.

HH: So is this an issue that is going to be part of your campaign from start to finish if you’re the nominee?

CC: It’s already been part of my campaign. I’m the one who was there on Sunday with Chris Wallace saying she’s a disgrace. And she is. I mean, she compared Republicans to terrorists. And this is a person who said to Ed Henry when he asked her three questions the other day at a press conference she was going to answer one, because that’s all he’s entitled to. Well, thank you very much, your royal majesty. This is not, this is not, you know, a family inheritance, the presidency of the United States. This is not something that you ascend to. We got away from that in 1776, and we don’t want it back. Yet that’s exactly the way she acts.

HH: Can you, can you beat Joe Biden if in fact she drops out and the Vice President becomes the nominee?

CC: I can beat any Democrat they put on the stage – Martin O’Malley, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, whoever they put on the stage in September of 2016, will be standing across from someone that they have never had the likes to contend with before. I’ve done this, Hugh, in New Jersey. I’ve had six years of being battle tested by a Democratic legislature, where I’ve had to veto 400 bills, more than any other governor in the country, 400 bills in the last five and a half years, and every one of those vetoes, Hugh, has been sustained. American For Tax Reform said last week I had vetoed more tax increases than any governor in American history. I’m battle tested to go down to Congress and take on Congress. But before that, I’m battle tested to take on whoever stands across from me. I’ve beat an incumbent Democratic governor who outspent me three to one in 2009, and then I beat a female 18 year state senator for reelection, getting 61% of the vote in a state that hadn’t elected a Republican for 12 years before I got here. I’m not scared of any person they put on that stage And believe me, they’ll know I’m there when they show up.

HH: Last couple of questions, why after you’re on do the gun 2nd Amendment people always email me and demand that I go tougher on you on guns? Why don’t the gun people like Chris Christie?

CC: Well, what they don’t like is New Jersey, and I understand that, because lots of laws were passed that were anti-2nd Amendment before I became governor. But what the folks who support the 2nd Amendment need to listen, and if they’re out right now, please listen if you’re listening out there, if you’ve got the radio on. In my state, the Democrats tried to ban the .50 caliber rifle. When I was governor, I vetoed it. The veto was sustained. They tried to reduce magazine size from 15 to 10. I vetoed it. It was sustained. They tried to put forward a statewide mandatory card that everyone who wanted to own a gun would have to be registered with. I vetoed that. That veto was sustained. There have been people who have been arrested in my state under overreaching gun laws. I’ve pardoned three of them, and are considering pardons of three more as we speak. The fact is they don’t like New Jersey’s gun laws. Neither do I. But I have a Democratic legislature, and this is one area, just one of the areas, one of the few that I haven’t been able to move the Democratic legislature to my will. But the fact is if you talk to the people who are NRA members in my state, who are the leaders of the New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Association in my state, they say that the 2nd Amendment is alive in New Jersey only because I’ve been governor for the last six years and have vetoed measures that this Democratic legislature has put forward. As president of the United States, I’ll protect people’s 2nd Amendment rights, and enforce the law to make sure that public safety is upheld in this county.

HH: So Chris Christie, last question, how do you get to the nomination? New Jersey doesn’t hold its primary until June 7th, like California. It’s the end.

CC: Yeah.

HH: Other governors have moved their forward. Michigan’s on the 8th of March. Ohio, John Kasich is going to pick up his own Buckeye State on the 15th. I want you to pick between Michigan and Ohio in the game, by the way, so that we get you on record on that. But what’s your path to the nomination? Where do you win?

CC: Oh, well, listen, I’m going to do very well in Iowa, and I’m going to do very well in New Hampshire. And then we’re going to move from there. And the fact is that you know, there’s a lot of people in this race. This thing may be going until June. And if it does, you’re going to be, I’m going to be really happy that New Jersey’s on June 7th, then, because when I win the New Jersey delegates that day, that may be the thing that clinches me the nomination if it goes on that long. So, and you won’t be surprised to hear that the Democratic legislature in my state is not looking to move up my primary to help my chances to be president, although quite frankly, they should want to. Then, at least, they’d get rid of me. But you know, they’re being short-sided about that, Hugh, and partisan. And I think the reason they don’t want to move it up is because they don’t want me to be the nominee. You know why? Because I beat them twice in New Jersey, and they don’t want me to exact that beating, the same one I gave to them, onto Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders, or Heaven forbid, Martin O’Malley.

HH: All right, last question, Rutgers was sort of affirmative action for football when we let you into the Big Ten. Are you a Michigan or Ohio State guy?

CC: I’m a Rutgers guy. Rutgers is in the Big Ten, and I’m for Rutgers. And so we’re going to, Rutgers is going to really start to put a whipping on some of these Big Ten schools. We played possum for you last year, Hugh. But you all had better be careful in the Midwest, because the beast of the East is coming. And I defeat…

HH: You’re lucky you…

CC: I mean, the Rutgers…

HH: You’re lucky you have Northwestern. You’re lucky you have Northwestern to beat.

CC: We’re thrilled to have Northwestern in there.

HH: Hey, Governor Chris Christie, thank you.

CC: Hugh, thank you, we’ll see you at the debate on the 16th.

HH: See you in Simi.

End of interview.

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