Trump must be ‘smart and careful’ in campaigning amid serious criminal charges: Christie’s


Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie said Sunday that his rival Donald Trump should not ignore the mounting indictments against him, all of which he denies.

“Trump needs to be smart and careful about this, if at all possible. Which is that he’s being criminally charged,” Christie told ABC’s “This Week” host Jonathan Karl.

Christie, a former New Jersey governor, ex-ABC News contributor and former Trump ally turned critic, stressed that Trump being tried in three different criminal cases, with a fourth likely to appear in Georgia, means he and Republican voters will have to do so. Navigate uncharted waters.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges against him, which have so far been issued by New York state court, federal court in Florida, and federal court in Washington, DC. The jury’s out there.

Some restrictions have been imposed on Trump in connection with the indictments, such as the order of protection issued by the federal judge overseeing his case on Jan. 6 in Washington. This order prevents disclosure of “sensitive” information that Trump would learn through discovery from prosecutors. The judge also warned against “inflammatory statements” that “could discredit the jury or frighten off potential witnesses.”

The judge in the New York state Trump case issued a similar order.

You’re subject to certain restrictions, Christie said on “This Week,” and the reason you’re subject to those restrictions is because a grand jury found that there was probable cause for criminal acts.

Disagreeing with the view of a federal judge in Washington — who said “Having a political campaign would have no effect on my decision” — Christie said “I think it’s impossible that politics wouldn’t inform some of this case. It’s not an ordinary criminal case, and so politics will inform some Of which “.

Christie said Trump is scheduled to go to trial next year at the same time he also goes to trial in the midst of the Republican primaries — meaning GOP voters can make their judgments.

“I think all of those things are things that people will have to address for the first time in the presidential race,” he said. And what I think Republican voters have to ask themselves are two things: First, is he really the man accused in four different cases, given the behavior he’s committed, someone who can beat Joe Biden or any other Democrat in November of 2024 and when are we going to stop? About pretending that’s normal?

Christie previously ran for president in 2016 and launched a second presidential bid in early June. He did not hesitate to condemn the former president, including at nearly every event of his campaign thus far.

Trump, for his part, has dismissed Christie as a “failed” candidate and governor, and early polls so far show Christie trailing heavily behind Trump and other hopefuls.

On “This Week,” Carl cited a widely circulated video from a debate during the 2016 campaign when Christie punched his opponent, Marco Rubio.

“Looking back at everything that’s happened since then, do you ever wish you had that swing at Donald Trump and not at Marco Rubio?” Carl asked.

PHOTO: Republican presidential candidate and former New Jersey governor Chris Christie speaks at a Tell it Like it Is PAC campaign event in Salem, New Hampshire, on August 9, 2023.

Republican presidential candidate and former New Jersey governor Chris Christie speaks at a Tell it Like it Is PAC campaign event in Salem, New Hampshire, on August 9, 2023.

Brian Snyder/Reuters

Christie replied, “I wish I had checked both of them, John, looking back.”

“We all made a mistake in 2016: myself, Marco, Jeb Bush, John Kasich, in not going after Donald Trump,” Christie continued, referring to the other 2016 Republican candidates — each of whom were seen at different times as more legitimate. From Trump, the ultimate winner.

“I think we were under the illusion that what was obvious to us at the moment, that there were some better candidates on stage than him, would be obvious to the audience,” Christie said. “It wasn’t. And I think it should guide everyone’s approach to racing this time around. Absolutely, that tells me.”

The first Republican primary debate of 2024 will be held on August 23, in Milwaukee. And to make it to the stage, candidates have to sign a pledge of allegiance with the Republican National Committee that ultimately promises to support whoever wins the nomination.

Both Christie and Trump criticized the Pledge of Allegiance. Trump said last week he wouldn’t sign it: “I can name three or four people that I wouldn’t endorse for president. So there’s a problem.”

He also indicated that he did not see any point in attending the first debate, given his lead in the polls.

“I think they are [the RNC] They’re serious about wanting to sign this pledge, and I think they’ll keep Donald Trump off the stage if he chooses not to sign the pledge,” Christie said on “This Week.”

However, he said, “I think this is all some kind of nonsensical theatre.” “I also made it clear to the Republican National Committee, way back, before I even entered the race, that I thought pledging was a bad idea, and Donald Trump is now playing that game. But that’s what he’s doing.”

Christie himself has not yet signed the pledge and said on Sunday that the organizers of the debates had not presented the pledge to him because they were still checking the eligibility of candidates to take the stage.

He said he would reluctantly sign it and predicted on “This Week” that Trump, despite his protests, might be.

“I wouldn’t be a little surprised if the pledge falls sometime on Sunday or Monday next week, and appears on stage on Wednesday,” Christie said. “He may not be, but I wouldn’t be too surprised if he did. This is about Donald Trump’s focus on Donald Trump.”

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