Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie said on Sunday that the United States should provide Israel “everything it needs to be able to take whatever actions it needs to take” in the aftermath of a large-scale strike by the Islamist group Hamas that rattled the country and region.
Christie, a former New Jersey governor, told ABC’s “This Week” anchor George Stephanopoulos that if elected president, his top priorities would be engaging regional allies like Jordan and Saudi Arabia to keep the conflict from spreading and acting as a “sounding board” for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to help him “think through the ramifications of every step they’re going to take to defend themselves and to try to do the best they can to eliminate terrorism.”
Christie, a former ABC News contributor, also criticized the dysfunction in the United States House of Representatives, where a small group of Republican lawmakers joined the Democratic minority last week to depose Speaker Kevin McCarthy, leaving the chamber without a way to pass legislation, including foreign aid.
“What I would be doing is ensuring that Israel has everything it needs to take whatever actions it needs to take. “And that is the issue with not having a speaker right now,” he explained.
“The actions taken by some members of my party were wholly irresponsible without this going on,” Christie stated in a statement. “They’re now even putting a brighter light on the irresponsibility of not having someone in place.”
Christie also described as “sophistry” certain Republican members of Congress who have floated Trump’s name as the future House speaker, despite Republican conference rules that would preclude such a move given Trump’s criminal accusations. (He strongly rejects any misconduct.)
“This is them doing what they know Donald Trump likes, which is kissing his rear end in public,” Christie was quoted as saying.
He refused to support either of the two contenders for speaker, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan or House Majority Leader Steve Scalise. Scalise, on the other hand, he described as a “responsible, good guy.”
Separately, when asked about Trump’s “stranglehold” on the conservative base by Stephanopoulos, Christie slammed the Republican National Committee, accusing it of “carrying Donald Trump’s water” after halting a Fox News debate between Christie and fellow candidate Vivek Ramaswamy.
Candidates are not permitted to engage in non-sanctioned debates, according to the party.
“More information is better than less, and by trying to restrict how much we can interact with each other, just only on those debate stages, I think it’s a mistake for the party, near-term and long-term, to do that,” Christie said in a statement.
Despite the party’s broad support for Trump, he feels progress is being made against the former president in several early primary states. Trump, for one, has labeled Christie a “failed” candidate and governor.
“This will take some time.” “It takes patience and persistence to send the message that he cannot win a general election,” Christie added, reiterating his case against Trump. “He doesn’t deserve to be the nominee of this party based upon his conduct in office and his conduct after office.”
“I’m making that argument all over the country, but particularly in New Hampshire and South Carolina, and I’m hearing people respond to it,” he said. “But we’re not going to see it show up in polls until much later, I suspect, if not as late as election night.”