Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie talked with Fox News Radio's Guy Benson in a wide ranging interview. Where the former New Jersey Governor commented on the federal government's response to the Coronavirus pandemic. Saying, "Well, listen, I think that at the federal level, we were slow to get going and slow to really engage in the way that we should have. But then once the President did engage, I think they've done a good job once engaged." Christie Also weighed in on the latest news out of the DOJ. Saying, "For somebody like me who spent seven years in the Justice Department in the Bush administration, it's a disgrace. And Jim Comey should be ashamed of himself for the kind of operation he was running at the FBI.
Listen To The Full Interview Below:
Guy Benson: It's the final hour, the happy hour, in fact, here on the guy that's in show on this hump day Wednesday. Thank you for being here. Guy Benson Show dicom is our Web site. Guy Benson Show dicom. You can listen live coast-to-coast on our many terrific affiliates or online or on the app. Lots of ways to listen. All at Guy Benson Show.com podcast is always free. That's available on i-Tunes or Spotify as well. Joining me now is the former governor of New Jersey, Republican Chris Christie, who served as the fifty fifth governor of my home state. Governor, it's great to have you here.
Chris Christie: Great to be here, guy. Thanks for having me.
Guy Benson: You bet. So I want to start with a story that got very little attention, although I'm sure it got significantly more attention in your household. The Supreme Court, just when the last few days, nine to nothing, threw out the convictions of some of your former members of your administration involved in so-called Bridgegate, which was this scandal. That was a huge element in your second term. And I know you got sort of beaten up over that scandal. Two of your underlings or associates were convicted, and now those convictions have been tossed by the Supreme Court unanimously. I'm curious what your reaction is to that development.
Chris Christie: Guy I think it's just another in a string of recent developments that we've seen that prove how vindictive and political the Obama Justice Department was. In that instance, going all the way back to 2014 when this incident occurred. There were all kinds of members of the bar who told the Obama appointed U.S. attorney, Paul Fishman, that these were not these acts were not a federal crime and they should not be prosecuted by the federal government. He ignored it because he wanted to make sure that he did all he could to take me out of a presidential race where at the time I was the frontrunner for the nomination and beating Hillary Clinton in all the national polls. And he ran a two and a half year investigation, which ultimately wound up indicting just two people in my administration. And the United States Supreme Court said nine to nothing in a 13 page opinion with the back of their hands that he knew what law was supposed to be. He didn't follow the law. Therefore, these convictions are vacated. And it's vindication for the people in my administration that they didn't commit federal crimes. What they did was stupid and they deserved to be fired. And I did fire them, but they didn't belong going to jail. And, you know, this is just another display of the partisanship and the vindictiveness and my view of some of the people, the Obama Justice Department.
Guy Benson: And so it's interesting because, Governor, as you know, people on the other side of the ideological spectrum in the political aisle are saying, well, actually, what we're seeing is a corrupt Justice Department now under President Trump and Bill Barr. And these decisions that they're making about Michael Flynn and other things is that there is a witch hunt with John Durham underway. There's a lot of sort of mud in the water right now. How do you see, based on the evidence coming in? How do you see how the Flynn matter was handled or the FISA warrants against Carter Page? Do you feel like Bill Barr is doing the right thing here and that John German investigation might actually blow back on some of the same Obama era folks who are really pounding the table on this issue?
Chris Christie: Well, we're gonna have to wait and see on the Durham investigation. That's what prudent prosecutors do. Guy, either we wait and see, then I'll see. I have great trust in John Durham. He's a he's a pro. He's been around for a long time. And I think John will do a good job. I saw the Flynn case. It looks to me like a classic perjury trap where they knew already what the answer was. You saw the notes you were trying to decide whether to get him to tell the truth or whether given the lie. That's not what FBI agents are there to do, what they're there to do is to go and interview those people who they need to interview to uncover all the facts so that prosecutors decide whether people should be prosecuted or not. Now, General Flynn still divides the vise president, and I think that's the problem. Yeah, from my perspective, I don't think he should be seen as a hero in any of this. But on the other hand, you know, this is not the way folks are supposed to be operating, guy. And for somebody like me, spent seven years in the Justice Department in the Bush administration, it's a disgrace. And Jim Comey should be ashamed himself for the kind of operation he was running at the FBI. He lost his way. And I think he really permitted a whole bunch of cases, the Hillary Clinton e-mail case, which he handled incorrectly. And now this Flynt matter. He's shown himself to be someone who had become bigger than the job he had. And once that happens, our justice system just whites are really getting hurt.
Guy Benson: So, Governor, I want to pick up on something that you just mentioned in passing, which is you are a DOJ alum, right? You're a federal prosecutor for years. And I'm struck by it seems like every so often I'm thinking back to the Mueller report controversy and and that whole contretemps involving how Bill Barr, the attorney general, handled that. And now the Flynn decision to drop the charges, up to 2000 former DOJ officials come out of the woodwork and they all get together and they sign some open letter calling for Barr to resign. This has happened two or three times now against Bill Barr. And I wonder what you make of that. I mean, you are also a a former Justice Department official. I don't happen to see your name on the list of folks who are calling for Bill Barr to resign yet again. I just it I'm curious for your reaction and then just be it is it is worrisome to me that thousands of former DOJ officials would look at the new information that we're getting and say the problem here is Bill Barr.
Chris Christie: You know, the problem you the way I see it, guy, is it is because of how divided our country has become. Everything everything now is based upon whether you like Donald Trump or you don't like Donald Trump. We agree with Donald Trump or you don't agree with him. I support the president as one of the first people to endorse him after I got out of the race. But I don't agree with everything he does and everything he says. But that doesn't mean that I get a pink. How I view law enforcement issues. And yeah. Listen, I told the president a long time ago, you know, for instance, that he should never fire Bob Mueller, that it would cause too much upset. I said, listen, Mr. President, if you did nothing wrong, which I believe in the end, that'll come out. In fact, it did. And so, you know, we have to have more faith in our in our in our system as a whole. And it was hard for me to have faith in a guy with for six years. You know, me and my people were dragged through the mud on this Bridgegate stuff, but ultimately. The system did vindicate us, and I think over and over again we're seeing that if we let the system work, it will vindicate us. So these people were signing these letters are just, you know, these are people who are από Donald Trump, and they can't ever get by that. And it's a shame. But it's where our country is right now, unfortunately.
Guy Benson: Yeah. And I think it actually undermines public faith. Exactly. To your previous point where it seems like, OK, there are politics at play and it's not just a country divided, but a DOJ divided along partisan lines, which is not what it's supposed to be. That's not how the system is supposed to go. Governor, I want to shift and talk about leadership in a crisis so my listeners know I'm originally from New Jersey. You won reelection in 2013 by a shocking margin for a Republican in New Jersey. Right. I mean, when the Republicans win statewide in New Jersey in my lifetime, basically, it's by the razor thin margin. You can imagine usually a plurality. You won a majority. You want to 60 percent of the vote as a fairly conservative Republican in the state of New Jersey, which is not a very conservative place. And I think part of your success and you can agree or disagree is people from across the spectrum, some Democrats, a lot of independents and of course, Republicans saw your leadership during Superstorm Sandy and how you responded to that. And there were some critics on the right saying that you were too chummy with Barack Obama. And there was, you know, the reelection campaign on. And you were kind of helping Obama because you were giving him photo ops and you said, look, I'm here to help my state. I don't care what party the president is. So that was your approach back in 2012, 2013. It worked out politically for you as you look at the response to a very different type of crisis now, this pandemic. What is your assessment of the leadership at the federal level? And I know there's a lot of different governors involved here, but at the state levels broadly as you watch from the outside in.
Chris Christie: Well, listen, I think that at the federal level, we were slow to get going and slow to really engage in the way that we should have. But then once the president did engage, I think they've done a good job once engaged.. And, you know, we're seeing it now on testing. I see significant improvements on the ground in testing. We saw it with regulators, you know, with PPE. Again, I think, you know, we needed an aggressive federal response in the beginning. We didn't have it. But then as the president got wall, we got aggressive. I think he's managed that part of it very, very well. Now, on the state side, I think there's some obvious really good players in this. Mike DeWine in Ohio, I think it's done a very good job and I think, you know, has acted aggressively the right way. And I think he's getting it right. I think Gavin Newsom in California, quite frankly, guy who I probably don't agree with almost everything God, but I think he's got a pretty good job out there. When you read the numbers in California. Given a population of 40 million, I think he's done a very good job in California. The challenge is going to be can he continue it? I think Larry Hogan in Maryland, he's got a very good job and worked hard on the testing issue of particular being really innovative, going to South Korea, getting half a million tests. And to quote a quote in New York, I think has been a a a voice of reason during much of this. You know, some of the decisions I agree with some of them I don't. But I think he's being a good voice for all this. So I think, you know, the governor level, those are kind of that to me, the people who have stood out and in others have done nice jobs, too. But those are the ones to me that stand out on a federal level. We we. I was urging that I worked some op ed on this front to get more aggressive more quickly. But now that we have I think we're moving in the right direction. And I think we're doing the right things started to reopen the country.
Guy Benson: You know, I just want to come back to Cuomo because I tend to agree. He's been good at communicating. I think the press has really enjoyed how he has handled it vis-a-vis his public relations. There have been some very serious questions about decisions that they've made in New York, including not. Cleaning the subway system every night until just recently and their nursing home policy was frankly crazy, and that's had some really devastating consequences. The numbers in New York and New Jersey have been just brutal. I mean, you know that and I know that very well. But it seems like a lot of the criticism has been about the president, about governors like Ron DeSantis down in Florida, where the numbers are much, much better than they are in New York. And I kind of feel like. CUOMO I'm not saying everyone should pile on the guy, but it seems like legitimate questions about policies that he was implementing and forcing are almost not even being asked of him. And there's there seems to be an imbalance and a disconnect there. And my cynical take are my cynical suspicion is that the press has a narrative that they are almost religiously devoted to. And that's how the coverage goes a lot of the time. You can probably sympathize with that having been a Republican governor.
Chris Christie: Sure. Oh, listen, there's no doubt that Republican governors, Republican officeholders are held to a much different level of scrutiny than Democrats in this country. They just are. And anybody who tries to tell you differently. Two-thousand watching or hasn't experienced it themselves. And so Fritz's New Jersey. Our state. Has more nursing home deaths than any place in the world. And you know, Phil Murphy instituted the policy where on, you know, the thirty thirty first of March, he had his health commissioner ordered all nursing homes that they had to take covered 19 patients could not discriminate against them. So we were putting covered 19 patients into the most vulnerable population, the elderly. There was the New York Times story, which I'm sure you saw yesterday on the front page about our state run veterans homes where we've lost, you know, dozens and dozens of veterans to this disease. But here's what I know, having been a governor. Ultimately, you are going to be scrutinized for what's happened and that every one of these governors will be scrutinized ultimately. You know, it's it's it's an admirable thing about the American people. Guy, they rally around their leaders in a crisis and they they support their leaders and they try to give the benefit of the doubt. But then once the crisis begins to stabilize. They definitely then look and critique how decisions are made. And I think some of these decisions, especially the Governor Murphy has made, will be. And I don't know that they'll stand up very well given that we have, you know, more deaths in New Jersey in nursing homes than any place else in the world. Governor, pretty extraordinary.
Guy Benson: Just to jump back and we have about a minute left and that was a tough one to throw at you with just a minute left. But overall, what do you think the public policy decision making process ought to look like when it comes to reopening safely?
Chris Christie: Well, this if I were a pretty extensive column in The Washington Post, right, we kept saying that sitting this we need to start reopening and we need to do it smartly. The way we need to do it is 30 percent capacity for businesses in the beginning. Taking everybody's temperature before they go in, making sure that we're not allowing big crowds again. No, no big sporting events or concerts. We need to let people get back to work and start working. The vulnerable population, elderly and people with underlying conditions should still stay at home until we have an effective therapeutic to deal with it or a vaccine. And and those people need to be very, very careful. But 33 billion unemployed guy, this this economy is in the worst shape it's been in since the Great Depression. And we need to let people get back to work. Last thing I'll say is this. We saw this after Sandy. Increase in mental health problems. Domestic violence. Yep. Addiction and suicide. It is already happening in a number of states and it's going to get worse. We have to get people off food, bank lines and back to work. And no American expects that Gates is going to be without risk. We're going to wear masks. We're going to social distance in the right way, and we're going to be smart about it. And are we going to lose more lives? Yes, we are going to lose more guys, tragically. But that's not the fault of anyone. That's the fault of the virus. And we just have to get back to work and start getting this economy going again. Well, we don't know what kind of country we're going to have in six or nine months yet.
Guy Benson: The economic concerns and the pain there and then the externalities about other actual human suffering and death, suicide, depression, that sort of thing. Those are real. Those are not sidebar issues. Governor Chris Christie, former governor of New Jersey, on the guy. Benson, shall we would love to have you back, Governor. Thanks for doing this,.
Chris Christie: Guy. I will. Come on. For a Jersey guy, anytime you ask.
Guy Benson: Sounds like a plan. Looking forward to that, governor. We'll take a break and continue. It's the happy hour on the Guy Benson Show.