Christie takes shots at Trump, preaches GOP Unity: ‘Showtime is over’
Monday morning at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, NH, Gov. Chris Christie made his case for why he should be the next President of the Unites States — speaking about the economy, national security, voter anger and anxiety and immigration.
Without mentioning Donald Trump by name, Christie took shots at the GOP front-runner and also warned that without a united Republican Party, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would take the White House.
“Showtime is over,” Christie said. “We are not electing an entertainer-in-chief. Showmanship is fun but it is not the kind of leadership that will change America. Bluster is not the leadership we crave. Talking a big game and either not showing up or not knowing how isn’t what we desperately need today.”
The governor said he didn’t blame voters for being angry and he took offense to the media labeling angry Americans as "crazy." He said the country needs a leader who can not only identify problems, but also find ways to solve them. A fractured Republican Party would mean the next president would be a Democrat, he said.
“Strong disagreements within a party can be a sign of strength if the party can then present a united front in the general election,” he said. “Do not be fooled: Any significant division within the Republican Party leads to the same awful result, Hillary Clinton taking the oath of office in January 2017. This country cannot afford that outcome, and thus we Republicans have a duty a profound, moral duty to work together.”
The governor said he did not think the GOP was destined to split. He said the party can agree on a platform. Christie said there was strong consensus on major issues like reining in federal government spending, making sure the presidency is stronger than the judiciary and promoting traditional values.
On immigration, Christie said:
“Do we have the moral and legal authority to police our borders and to decide for ourselves who gets to be an American? Of course we do, and of course millions of Americans are made furious by the suggestion, increasingly common in elite discourse, that any enforcement of our immigration laws amounts to unlawful discrimination. That is simply not true; we must secure our borders as priority number one.”
The governor said voters have a right to be angry about US trade policy:
“As the governor of New Jersey, a state that has always depended on trade, I am certainly a supporter of free trade, and I would oppose any effort to institute what I would consider a true protectionist policy, but can anyone truly say that U.S. trade policy is working as advertised?”
On the topic of national security, Christie said:
“I am the only one who battled terrorism as a post-9/11 federal prosecutor, the only one who has had to make decisions that made the difference in keeping America safe. Preserving American lives must be the first task of our new President, especially in a world where the Obama/Clinton foreign policy has left us with Iran and a resurgent Russia, ISIS and a rebuilding Al-Qaeda.”
The speech ended the same way it began. Christie closed out calling for party unity. He said he was ready to bring that unity.
“Bringing our party together is the first task of the next Republican leader,” Christie said. “Without that unity we cannot win and that unity is not possible without respect for the views, the emotions, the principles and the anger and disappointment of all the members of our party.”
Kevin McArdle has covered the State House for New Jersey 101.5 news since 2002. Contact him at email@example.com. Follow him on twitter at @kevinmcardle1.