Chris Christie, 2024 GOP presidential candidate, Former Governor of New Jersey & author of Republican Rescue: Saving the Party from Truth Deniers, Conspiracy Theorists, and the Dangerous Policies of Joe Biden joined the Guy Benson Show to discuss a deluge of topics, including Vivek Ramaswamy’s January 6th comments against Mike Pence. Christie also discusses him calling out Ramaswamy’s responses in the GOP debate, as well as Trump’s upcoming trials.
Listen to the full interview below:
Christie had this to say about the upcoming Donald Trump trials:
“On Super Tuesday… Donald Trump will be in a courtroom in Washington D.C. Criminal defendants have to show up for court. If anyone thinks that someone who is going to spend 4 to 6 weeks in a courtroom… during a presidential election is going to win… you’re kidding yourself.”
GUY BENSON, THE GUY BENSON SHOW HOST: Okay, I have a lot to say about that but let’s go to our guest, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who is a presidential candidate in this 2024 cycle, a Republican governor. Good to have you back here.
CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you, Guy.
BENSON: All right, you just heard that. Interesting response there from Vivek Ramaswamy about what Mike Pence should have done, what he would have done as vice president. A sweeping electoral reform in one day as a contingent requirement to certify the election and I guess forcing these things on states, which actually make the rules for elections state-by-state. As you listen to that, what do you make of it?
CHRISTIE: Amateur. Complete amateur. First of all, states set those rules, as you very aptly put. Secondly, he is now going to be a kidnapper. He’s going to take hostage the votes of every American from the presidential election to put forward what he believes should be the electoral reforms. I don’t disagree with any of the things he laid out. But the idea that he’s going to, one, hold it hostage and that what he’s trying to say is that he’s going to get 60 votes for that in the Senate, that Chuck Schumer’s going to say sure, yes. No problem, Vivek. We’d be happy to have you do that.
CHRISTIE: He — overnight, yeah. And by the way, all 50 governors are going to say oh sure, that would be great, too. This is the dangerous thing about this guy and that’s why I called him Chat-GPT at it. He puts forward a whole bunch of words, a complete word salad that sounds okay for someone who has absolutely no idea what they’re doing. But that’s what we got on Wednesday night. I think that’s why he got much of the reaction he got from people on the stage, whether it was me or Nikki Haley or Mike Pence. And you know you can’t take stuff like that seriously.
Answer the question. Did Mike Pence do the right thing or the wrong thing? And the two people who didn’t really answer the question were the two people at the center of the stage. Vivek wouldn’t really answer that question, and Ron DeSantis said, “I have no beef with him.” Like I don’t even know what the hell that means.
BENSON: I think he said he did his duty. He got around to it eventually. It wasn’t as clear cut, but he said Mike did his duty. There wasn’t some sort of fan fiction offer there like, you know, you’re going to hold the votes hostage until — until you pass the sweeping reforms that supersede all the state laws. But yes. No, I actually think it’s a fair point to say that DeSantis should have just said initially yes and then move to his other point. He eventually got to the yes.
What were some of your other takeaways, Governor? You were onstage. We were, of course, watching. I bumped into your father actually in Milwaukee, which was very exciting. What a great guy. He could not have been any nicer. He was showing up at the venue to come see his son debate. How do you feel like it went for you? How do you feel like it went for everyone onstage or the party generally?
CHRISTIE: Well look, I think it went well for us. I mean, we made very clear some of our priorities on the border, on law and order in this country, on economic issues, Ukraine. So I got the opportunity to lay out a number of those things. And to point out where I thought some folks on the stage were not being completely honest. And most importantly, I think the real lasting moment from that debate will be that six people raised their hand and said even if convicted of a felony they’ll support Donald Trump, and I think that’s going to be the lasting moment from that debate.
BENSON: Speaking of that, there’s news today that the judge in the federal case against Donald Trump relating to January 6th and the post-election period, so this is different from the Mar-a-Lago classified documents obstruction case. That trial is set for late May. The judge in this other federal case, which will be based in D.C. — the other one’s in Florida. This is the D.C. one — ruled today and announced today that the trial will be set to start, that criminal trial, in D.C. on March 4thof next year. March 5th, Governor, as you know, is Super Tuesday. So you’ve got a number of Conservatives saying you know this timing is not even close to subtle. They’re scheduling it right before Super Tuesday. Some people might see some politics afoot there. There’s also the matter of the leading contender on the Republican side having it seems like at least two or three active trials at least scheduled to begin at some point during the election. This would be in the thick of the Republican primaries, right before Super Tuesday.
The Florida federal case would be May 20, 2024. As you know, trials can go quite some time. Maybe — how long do you think these trials could go? They could be lasting weeks. Could be longer than that? Because May is getting awfully close to the summer. That’s the nominating conventions, right, and then all of the sudden you’re in the middle of a fall election campaign. I just wonder what you think of the timing here and the implications for the timing of this hodgepodge of legal proceedings that will be dotting the campaign trail at least in some of these cases, for months and months on end.
CHRISTIE: It won’t be dotting the campaign trail, Guy. It’ll be dominating the campaign trail. Look, March 4th is a realistic trial date. I didn’t think (ph) January was. I think March is. That gives the Trump folks seven months to prepare for a single defendant trial. He is the only defendant that matter. They did not indict other co-conspirators um in that case. And this is the spec (ph) the Republican voters have to prepare for. But the day before Super Tuesday Donald Trump will not be in Alabama or in any other of the Super Tuesday states. He will be in a courtroom in Washington, D.C., and this will not be optional. He will have to be there every day that the court is in session. Defendants — criminal defendants have to be in court. That’s a condition of their release. They have to show up for court.
And if anybody thinks that someone who is going to spend probably anywhere from four to six weeks on trial, that’s about how long that trial probably takes, through my experience a four-to-six week trial, that that person’s going to get elected President of the United States if they’re the nominee is kidding themselves. Let’s put aside the trial in May which may or may not happen. That one is more complicated as we’ve discussed because of the classified documents. There’s nothing complicated about the January 6th case.
And so, we can have a guy who is by mid-April a convicted felon. And the fact is that this is leading our party to a disaster, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and the Democrats will speak of nothing else other than the fact that we, if we were to go forward and nominate Donald Trump, have nominated a convicted felon. There won’t be any other issues in this race, Guy. And he’s not electable on that basis. And we’re now starting to see what that means from a practical perspective when these trial dates get set. Whether you believe the charges are just or unjust, the jury is going to make that determination ultimately. But it makes him politically untenable in a general election. And I want Republicans to understand what that means.
Four more years of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris would almost certainly a Democratic House and a Democratic Senate, that means packing the Supreme Court. That means elimination of the filibuster. That means out of control spending, more government control of healthcare. It is going to mean disaster for our country and all because we can’t understand that this is not normal conduct, that he has done this to himself and that it is time for him to go. And we need to put a Republican up there who can argue about how awful a president Joe Biden has been, how bad his policies have been for this country both here and around the world and to make the case against him so that we get rid of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, we get rid of Chuck Schumer as Majority Leader of the Senate, we keep Kevin McCarthy as Speaker, and we go to start doing the things that need to be done to make this country a thriving democracy again.
BENSON: So I get all of that. I agree with much of it. However, most Republican voters don’t agree with that, right? Kristen Soltis Anderson who’s a friend of mine, smart pollster, she has a piece out at “The New York Times” saying most Republican voters believe that Trump is not only electable, he gives the party the best chance to beat Joe Biden. And just to push back on what you said, and I get it and I think things could look different, let’s say, next September or October than they look right now, but there’s a new poll out today. Emerson has Donald Trump, you know, in the immediate aftermath of the arrest and the mug shot and all of that, Donald Trump narrowing leading Joe Biden.
So you say he’s unelectable, but at least some of the polling shows it would be a dog fight and Trump would have maybe a real fighter’s chance of winning. Is that an illusion? Is that wrong? And why are Republican voters, in your mind, not thinking about this the right way when the polls show what they do?
CHRISTIE: Well because nobody’s talking about it, Guy. Nobody in our party is willing to have the guts to talk about it. And now we’re going to talk about it, and now it becomes more real. When trial dates are set becomes more real, the less hypothetical this becomes and the more real it becomes, the more Republican voters are going to say we can’t do this. And so, I don’t worry about polls right now. Polls right now are uniform polls meaning everybody has their uniform on. They view Donald Trump as synonymous with the Republican Party. And so they say OK, do I want to support the Republican Party or do I want to support Joe Biden.
Well OK, that’s a 50/50 proposition right now. You really believe it’s going to be a 50/50 proposition if he’s a convicted felon? And by the way, you know, what happens with Independent voters, which we know are the people who are going to determine this election, nobody that I’ve spoken to believes that Independent voters are going to break in any numbers for Donald Trump if he has been a convicted felon on one case. By the way the New York case is scheduled. By the way, the other case is schedule for May 24th. I mean, we don’t know what the Atlanta date is going to be yet. This will never — this is not ending any time soon.
And the idea that we, that we really think that someone in this position could be elected president of the United States to me is an absurdity. And what Republican voters need to understand is whether they love Donald Trump or hate him, he’s not electable. I don’t care what Kristen Soltis Anderson says today. If the election — because her question she has to focus on, if the election were held today, well, Guy, the one thing I can guarantee for sure is it’s not.
BENSON: And by the way –
BENSON: — just to be clear, Kristen does not — Kristen agrees with you on the substance. She just wrote a piece in “The Times” explaining why many Republican voters don’t share that view and they view Trump as the most electable, so and you’re making the case why that’s wrong.
CHRISTIE: It’s totally wrong and, and by the way you know he lost in ’18. He lost in ’20. He lost in ’22. I mean, this is not a mystery any longer. And you know it’s time to send you know the illusionist to Mar-a-Lago permanently. It’s done. And the fact is that he’s going to be sitting in a courtroom while people are voting and there’s going to be people testifying against him. By the way, including the Vice President of the United States, the former vice president. On that January 15th, you can bet he’s going to be a witness. I’d say he’s not going to be on the campaign trail either.
BENSON: Yes, there’s —
CHRISTIE: He’s going to be in a courtroom for a couple of days testifying what he said on the debate stage, Guy, which is Donald Trump told him to reverse the results of the election. That is going to be devastating testimony regarding his guilt or innocence in that courtroom. Devastating.
BENSON: Chris Christie was the Governor of New Jersey for two terms. He’s running for president this year. He’s making the case to Republican voters that it would be a mistake to go with the leading candidate by far for president. Whether they listen, whether things change by January I guess we’ll see. Governor, I’m sure we’ll talk again before then. Thanks for coming on the show as usual and please give my very best to your dad.
CHRISTIE: I certainly will. Thanks for being so kind to my 90-year-old father. He was thrilled to meet a guy that he listens to on the radio all the time. So thanks, Guy, for being so kind to my dad.
BENSON: Oh I mean, he was the nicest guy. Very, very cool. That was a great moment. Governor Chris Christie on “The Guy Benson Show.” We’ll be right back.