Gov. Chris Christie joins JI’s ‘Limited Liability Podcast’
Former New Jersey governor joins podcast for wide-ranging interview
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Former New Jersey governor and rumored 2024 candidate Chris Christie joined “Limited Liability Podcast” co-hosts Richard Goldberg and Jarrod Bernstein for a wide-ranging conversation on former President Donald Trump’s level of culpability in the January 6th riot, reimposing sanctions on Iran, the mechanics behind the failure of the Obama-Netanyahu relationship and why he believes Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) wanted to leave the Republican leadership.
On January 6th: “January 6th was an awful moment in our country’s history, and something that, as I was watching, I couldn’t believe that I was seeing what I was seeing. I think that what it says is, and I said this at the time, that [Trump] ginned this up over the course of months, not on January 6, but going all the way back to the summer of 2020 when he was talking about the election being stolen. I said this all along, [former Attorney General] Bill Barr has now said this publicly in the last couple of days: There’s just no evidence of it. I mean, I can’t tell you how many really smart people have come up to me and say they believe the election was stolen… If they showed me evidence that this election was stolen, I would have been right up there fighting with others to make sure that we got an honest election result. There’s no evidence to prove it. And so when you continue to say it, though, and you’re the president, who’s continued to say it, you’re going to gin people up. And then, once you gin them up, you can’t control it even if you want to… That’s just unacceptable, unacceptable that the president played any role in that.”
Reimposing Sanctions: Christie said he would support reimposing sanctions on Iran even if the U.S. reentered the nuclear deal. “By the way, sanctions were working against them. And you saw in Iran, uprisings beginning for those who were opposed to the Islamic government, and we need to give that time to continue to play out,” he said, adding, “I think it was a bad move by President Biden” to not impose sanctions and reenter the deal.
Principles and principals: “There are any number of instances where I could say to you that I think that Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu could have handled certain things, his relations with the United States, more deftly. Now, I agree with a lot of the policy positions he ultimately took. What I’m talking about is how he handled the relationship. And by the way, so could [former President] Barack Obama have handled that relationship better. In the end, I think that foreign policy is about two ideas: the principles that you share, and the relationship of the principals… That’s where Netanyahu, at times, was not as deft as he could have been. And I think President Obama was not nearly the supporter of Israel that he should have been. And you’re seeing in a lot of the House Democrats, that same type of approach, and I want to know from them, do they really think that the world would be a better place if Israel were weakened? That the Middle East would be more peaceful if Israel was weakened? It doesn’t make any sense to me at all. And I bet you if you talk to Jordan privately, the Saudis privately, the Emiratis privately, they don’t want a weakened Israel either. Because guess what? All of them are afraid of the same thing — Iran.”
Top issues: Asked to name the three top issues Republicans should run on in the midterms, Christie cited education, a rising China, and the economy. “China is going to be our adversary for the next 80 years. We better get on understanding that they’re an adversary and start taking much stronger steps towards winning that fight both by strengthening ourselves and weakening the leadership in China… We have a Jimmy Carter-like economy in this country where unemployment remains higher than it should, and inflation winds up getting very high. Jimmy Carter’s the guy in the ‘76 election who coined the phrase ‘misery index,’ the combination of unemployment and inflation — I got a feeling that his buddy Joe Biden is going to be getting whacked around with the same ‘misery index’ that Jimmy Carter created, and which ultimately cost him his presidency.”
On Cheney: “Let me tell you why I think she’s out of leadership. You remember, she said all the things she said, and they had a first vote, and she was kept. Then she kept saying to them over and over and over: “Enough. You’re on the record. We heard you.” Does anybody think that Liz Cheney supports Donald Trump after the first set of statements? You think anybody thinks that she thinks that what happened on January 6th was OK? Do you think anybody thinks that Liz Cheney thinks that Donald Trump actually won the election? Let me tell you what I think: Liz Cheney wanted out of leadership. I think she didn’t like it anymore. And when she won that vote the first time, she said, ‘Oh, God, that didn’t work. OK, let me keep standing.’ And then it finally worked.”
Tony’s back: At the top of the show, Christie addressed the upcoming prequel to HBO’s “The Sopranos,” the first trailer of which was released this week. “Great news. I love ‘The Sopranos.’ One of the great shows of all time.” Christie said. “Anything that features New Jersey, except for the “Jersey Shore” show, I’ll take.”
Bonus: Favorite Yiddish word? “Chutzpah and schmuck” said Christie, who relayed he picked up Yiddish words attending more bar and bat mitzvahs than he “could count” growing up in Livingston. Favorite Jewish food? The matzo ball soup from Tabachnicks in Livingston. Favorite Jersey beach? Bayhead in Northern Ocean County, where he and his wife own a beach house. Christie, who sits on the New York Mets’ board of governors, also went on to predict that new owner Steven A. Cohen would bring a World Series to Queens within five years.