Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie On Whether He Stays In The Race

Hugh Hewitt

Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie joined me this morning to answer the key question: Is he helping Donald Trump win the GOP nomination:




HH: Talking with former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Good morning, Governor. Welcome back.

CC: Thank you for having me, Hugh.

HH: Governor, I’ve sat across the debate stage from you five times, have interviewed you probably a hundred times. You always answer my questions. And so I’m going to start with this one. If you dropped out in New Hampshire, would any Chris Christie supporters vote for Donald Trump?

CC: You know, I will tell you this. From polling that we’ve done, there are some that would, yes.

HH: What percentage, do you think, is it the high-water mark would go for Donald Trump?

CC: In the last poll that we had, it was about 15%.

HH: All right, so 85%, you’re very strong in New Hampshire. I went down and saw you at one of your town halls. But you’re staying in. I’m not the View. You’re not going to put this over on me. Your staying in the primary undeniably helps Donald Trump get the election, doesn’t it?

CC: No, it doesn’t. The fact is that we’re going out. We’re the only one running against Donald Trump. We’re the only one trying to beat Donald Trump. No one else in New Hampshire is trying to beat Donald Trump. We are, and so no, Hugh, I don’t think that’s true.

HH: Now Governor, I was talking to Noah Rothman, who like me is a big admirer of you, and unlike me, is actually your constituent, knows your record by heart, and thought you were a great governor. But I want to quote Noah. “It is simply undeniable that he is hurting Nikki Haley, and he is doing profound reputational harm to himself. I cannot understand what he is doing that is on the upside right now.” How do you answer Noah?

CC: Well, first of all, you know, Noah doesn’t have the first idea of what he’s talking about. The fact is that I’m running for president of the United States, and no one’s voted, yet. And I don’t have an obligation to do anything other than to answer questions, tell the truth, run a good campaign, and try to win. And so you know, where this has become Nikki Haley’s campaign when no one’s voted yet is kind of a mystery to me, Hugh.

HH: Well, I’m not calling it Nikki. I’m in Switzerland. I don’t know who’s campaign it is, but I do algebra. I used to do algebra. I’m not going to say that anymore. You might ask me something. But I can do math, and if Chris Christie drops out, every, someone’s going to benefit not named Donald Trump. Isn’t that undeniable?

CC: Look, there’s, that’s possible, although I think given the campaigns that are being run by some of the other folks, that a lot of the people are going to vote for Chris Christie in New Hampshire just won’t vote.

HH: That’s possible, too. But the only way Donald Trump isn’t the nominee is if somebody else beats him in Iowa and/or New Hampshire. I think that’s just, if he wins those two, he’s the nominee. Is that true?

CC: Well, I’m not exactly sure about that, either, because we’re in unprecedented times here. Every day, there’s a new legal challenge for Donald Trump that’s brought on by his own conduct. And not just legal challenges, but political challenges that are brought on by his own conduct and his own words. And so no, I don’t think any of that is definite. Hugh, we’re in a time that we’ve never dealt with before. We’ve never had a situation in our party or in our country where we’ve had someone who’s facing a defamation damages trial in two weeks, who’s facing a challenge to his business, and a decision coming on that, someone who’s under four criminal indictments, someone who has now been removed by two different states from the ballot, and others having challenges to his positioning on the ballot coming. We don’t know what’s going to happen here, and the idea that somehow this is an algebra equation, this is not. This is finite math.

HH: This is an algebra equation from Switzerland. And all I know is there are variable that we cannot yet quantify, but we can guess. And it seems to me at this point, given the urgency in the world and the timing of the campaign, that the amount of spectrum left for major changes as the campaign has gone to almost zero absent a natural event of some sort that I don’t wish on anybody, and that therefore, Chris Christie, if Nikki Haley loses New Hampshire by 5%, and you’ve got 10% or more, you will have elected Donald Trump president. Are you okay with that?

CC: Well, first of all, I don’t think that anyone at this juncture, if you’re going to be a slave to these polls, Hugh, that have happened beforehand, the polls that if they were right, Hillary Clinton would be in her second term. You know, if you’re going to be a slave to that, there’s nobody who’s within 5% of Donald Trump in any credible poll in New Hampshire at the moment.

HH: But you brought up polling first when you said your polls showed 15% of your voters would go for Donald Trump. So you’re using them.

CC: That’s because you asked.

HH: All right, so what do your polls show?

CC: I’m not saying that that is a definite occurrence. You asked me if I had any reasons to believe that any Christie voter would vote for Trump, and so I gave you a statistic that we have. I don’t know whether that’s accurate or not.

HH: All right, true enough. I love arguing with a prosecutor.

CC: I have no idea.

HH: Let me reframe the question, Governor Christie. Does your data show that a significant number of Christie voters would vote for Nikki Haley or Ron DeSantis if you dropped out?

CC: Yes.

HH: Okay. Point taken. That’s all I want to know. Now I want to know, have you ruled out No Labels?

CC: I’ve said that over and over. Yes.

HH: I know, but it’s something you said on the View yesterday made me think huh. That View interview was odd, Governor. I thought you were kind of hedging your bet there, so it leads to this question. If it’s Donald Trump, Republican nominee against Joe Biden, Democratic nominee, who will Chris Christie vote for?

CC: At this point, I wouldn’t vote for either one of them.

HH: What would you do?

CC: I’d vote down ballot.

HH: But then, you’d abdicate?

CC: I mean, Hugh, Hugh, this is not news. I’ve been saying this from the beginning. I’m the guy who didn’t raise my hand on the stage when they asked me if you would support him if he was a convicted felon.

HH: Yeah, I know, but support…

CC: So I don’t understand how we’re in, I have to tell you the truth, Hugh. You have interviewed me probably a hundred time. I’ve never had a less substantive interview with you in my life.

HH: But it’s actually the most substantive interview. We’re down to the quarter stretch.

CC: No. This is, this is not news, Hugh. I didn’t raise my hand in August, but you think you’re making news here, then you’re not paying attention.

HH: The premise of the question in August was if he was a convicted felon, would you vote for him. I don’t think he’s going to be a convicted felon.

CC: Well, that’s your opinion.

HH: By the way…I know. And so I think, what I’m asking you is my premise. If he’s not a convicted felon, all right…

CC: I don’t accept your premise.

HH: Oh, come on, Governor. You’re on redirect here. If he is the nominee…

CC: It is, and I don’t accept your premise.

HH: If he’s convicted and on appeal, would you vote for him?

CC: If he’s convicted and on appeal?

HH: Yeah.

CC: He’s convicted. I wouldn’t vote for him.

HH: All right. Governor, do you think the Colorado Supreme Court made the right decision?

CC: I want the voters to turn out Donald Trump. I don’t want courts to do it.

HH: But that, directly, though, I think they misread the 14th Amendment article 3 completely. It’s without precedent. This is very substantive. Do you agree with me?

CC: So Donald Trump’s conduct is without precedent, absolutely without precedent. And so I think this is ultimately going to be decided by the United States Supreme Court, and I will tell you this. The idea, though, that someone needs to be convicted for this to happen, I think, is not something that’s required by the Constitution. That’s certainly…

HH: Do you think Article 3 of the 14th Amendment is self-executing?

CC: Yes.

HH: Oh, we disagree. Do you think it was appropriate for the Maine secretary of state unilaterally to remove Donald Trump from the ballot in Maine?

CC: If I’m uneasy with courts doing it, I’m certainly uneasy with a secretary of state doing it on his or her own.

HH: And if for any reason the former president is exonerated by the Supreme Court on the virtue of immunity or because of the vagueness of Jack Smith’s challenges or the other prosecutions falling apart, and he is an un-convicted nominee of the Republican Party, will you vote for him?

CC: Hugh, I have said over and over again that he’s unfit to be president of the United States.

HH: So under no circumstances?

CC: I’ve said this. He’s unfit to be president of the United States based upon his conduct. And if you’re unsure about that, all you have to do is listen to his interviews with you. And his interviews with you tell me that he is completely unfit to be president of the United States.

HH: Do you think Governor DeSantis and Governor Haley are fit to be president of the United States?

CC: Yes.

HH: Okay, so if one of them is the nominee, you will support them?

CC: Absolutely.

HH: Governor Christie, thank you. When are you going to tell us what the final decision is on whether you’re staying in New Hampshire or not?

CC: I don’t even understand your question.

HH: Everybody is waiting for you to drop out. I talk to Republicans across the country, because I’m Switzerland. Everyone talks to me. They all think you’re going to drop out.

CC: Well, good for them.

HH: Are they wrong?

CC: Am I here? Am I on your show?

HH: You are. That’s not the answer. This is not the View.

CC: Am I going to New Hampshire? Am I doing, am I going to New Hampshire this morning and doing a town hall tonight in Hollis, New Hampshire? The answer is yes.

HH: All right. Joy Behar, you pulled a Joy on me, Governor, but it’s good. Keep coming back. Where are you going to be tonight in New Hampshire?

CC: Hollis, New Hampshire tonight.

HH: All right. We’re on in New Hampshire. People will be there to see Governor Chris Christie. Thank you, Governor, as always. Keep coming back.

End of interview.

Hugh Hewitt General

2024-01-04 13:22:33 , The Hugh Hewitt Show

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