National Security

Chris Christie Tells Fox News Host How Trump Can Win in 2020

Speaking to Laura Ingraham on 'The Ingraham Angle,' former N.J. governor delivers blunt-as-usual assessments — and pointed advice for the president

Image Credit: Screenshot, ABC

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) was characteristically blunt about why he threw his support behind Donald Trump so early on in the 2016 presidential campaign cycle — and that he doesn’t regret it at all, even though he has some policy views that don’t exactly mirror Trump’s. He also shared advice for Trump as 2020 looms ahead.

“I made a decision at the time I thought he was going to win the nomination after I dropped out, and that I preferred him to Hillary Clinton,” Christie told host Laura Ingraham of “The Ingraham Angle” during his Fox News Channel appearance last night. “That’s why I made the decision. It wasn’t a whole lot more complicated than that. I still agree with what his policies are more than I agree with Hillary Clinton’s.”

He added, “Listen, he has turned the Republican Party into something different than when I started to run for president.”

Ingraham asked him, “Would you consider that ‘something different’ good or bad, ultimately for the GOP, Governor?”

“In some ways good and in some ways bad, from my perspective. In the good ways he’s turned it, I think his toughness on China has been something that the party needed for quite some time, and I think his continued efforts in that regard — his continued efforts and trade in general, I think, are good and he’s gotten much better deal with Canada and Mexico than we had before.”

“And I think he’ll achieve the same things with the E.U. and Japan.”

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He added, “I think he’s been better for us in terms of our regulatory policy and has put more focus than we were putting on [how] we control Congress and could have done more there, too, on regulatory issues.”

“Now, in the places where I disagree, I think there are times, in foreign policy, where he acted impulsively — you know, whether it’s discussions about Syria and the crosscurrents that [are] involved there … I think he should take a more deliberative approach. I think he is now taking a more deliberative approach.”

“But, listen, in the main, I would say he’s made the party better because he won. He beat Hillary Clinton,” he added.

Ingraham asked him, “But do you think you could have beaten Hillary Clinton in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, all those states?”

“Yes. I absolutely do … Sure, I absolutely do.”

“Because of your positions on trade, immigration?” she queried. “The things that motivated those voters to turn out … And, obviously, he had the money to — he had the money raised, too.”

“Yes. Listen, there’s no question that I think Hillary Clinton was an extraordinary flawed candidate and she needed someone who was going to be direct and go at her and call her out on all the things that she had done as secretary of state and the things she was proposing, and how preposterous they were.”

Related: Laura Ingraham: Today’s Democrats Are a ‘New Breed of Radical Zealots’

Christie added that “the way we would lose [against] Hillary Clinton [was] if we had a candidate who was not direct, who was not blunt, who was part of the old guard, whether that was Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio or Scott Walker.  I don’t know that those guys would’ve been able to pull it off because they would’ve been more P.C. I don’t think you needed a P.C. person,” the former governor added.

About President Donald Trump, Christie emphasized, “The biggest thing he did was win. And those areas in foreign policy where I’ve disagreed with him at times and I may be … more aggressive, more interventionist … than he would have, I don’t think that would’ve determined a loss in the election to me when contrasted against Hillary Clinton, with all the other advantages.”

“But in the end, it doesn’t matter.  He was the nominee. I was the first person to go out and support him. You were telling me I should do that. And I went out and I did it.  And I think, you know, that represented a big moment in the campaign … I think that was a big turning point in the primary campaign, which I believed he was going to win — and even more important, for the general election.”

Ingraham also asked Christie what Trump should do to win in 2020. “And are the Democrats — we started the show by talking about the lurch to the Left of the Democratic Party, infanticide, green energy, and all that — are the Left actually helping Trump now as we move into the election cycle?”

“They are significantly helping him by continuing to move to the Left, by putting people like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez out in front, being a spokeswoman for the party, talking about a 70 percent tax rate, talking — Kamala Harris talking about eliminating all health insurance companies and having insurance for all,” replied Christie.

“And let’s not forget our friend Howard Schultz … I’m going to get a T-shirt made up that says, ‘Run, Howard, Run.’ Let’s go, Howard, get in there, run as an independent. All those things are process things that are helping to shape the landscape to make the contrast even better. What you want in an election politically is a great contrast. You had a great contrast between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. That’s what we want again. We don’t want people to muddle things up in the middle. We want contrast.”

Related: Trump Says Schultz Lacks the ‘Guts’ to Run for President

Christie also said, “Do you want a socialist society, or do you want a capitalistic society? Do you want a society that respects life, or do you want a society that denigrates alive? Do you want a society that gives opportunity for everybody, or where government controls everything? Donald Trump has to be able to draw that picture very starkly and clearly. The Democrats, doing what they are doing, are going to help him.”

Then Christie shared this bit of pointed advice for Trump: “He needs to get better people around him, Laura.”

“You know, so many of the mistakes in the first two years of this administration, and I write about this in the book, have been unforced errors — unnecessary errors by people who don’t have the experience in Washington, D.C.,” said Christie. “It’s great to be a disrupter. I was a disrupter in Trenton. I was a disrupter in Washington. But I also need to have people around me — and he needs to have people around him, me as a former prosecutor, him as a businessman, that understands the politics of the capital. And it helps to avoid some of [the] unforced errors like government shutdowns.”

Christie’s been doing interviews this week to promote his new book, “Let Me Finish: Trump, the Kushners, Bannon, New Jersey, and the Power of In-Your-Face Politics.”

Christie, 56, served as the 55th governor of New Jersey from 2010 to 2018.

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