(AP Photo/John Raoux)

2024 GOP presidential candidate Chris Christie spoke to Brian Kilmeade about why voters will feel differently about Donald Trump once his federal trials begin and they see the evidence. Christie believes when Donald Trump is in a courtroom instead of on the campaign trail making the case against Joe Biden, the primary race will change significantly. When asked if Ron DeSantis was wrong not to show up when President Biden was touring Florida in the aftermath of Hurricane Idalia, Christie said he was wrong and was playing politics avoiding the President. Christie says as governor it is your job to be a tour guide for the president to make sure he sees your people, the damage, the suffering and what needs to be done to rebuild. Christie, who had backlash from republicans for meeting with President Obama in the aftermath of Sandy, said he would not have done a thing differently because his obligation was to the people who elected him. On Vivek Ramaswamy, Christie says there is always a candidate who comes out of nowhere seemingly to get some attention but believes this will be a temporary thing. Christie added, “Vivek continues to be the kind of guy you wanted to stuff in the locker in the 11th grade.”

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Rough transcript below

Brian Kilmeade [00:00:00] And let me welcome you to Chris Christie, the former governor of New Jersey, now moving up in the polls in New Hampshire especially, and fighting the good fight already qualified for the second debate. Governor, welcome back.

Chris Christie [00:00:12] Brian. Thanks for having me. Hope you had a good Labor Day weekend.

Brian Kilmeade [00:00:15] Did you work? Were you out there?

Chris Christie [00:00:18] We were. We were out there working and we’re out. You raising money and making sure that we have what we need to communicate our message all across the country.

Brian Kilmeade [00:00:28] My analysis, The best thing to ever happen to you. Mike Pence and. And Governor Haley. Vivek Ramasamy.

Chris Christie [00:00:37] Yeah. Look, look, see? You know, everybody in every one of the races I’ve seen and I know you’ve seen over the last few cycles, there’s a candidate who comes out of nowhere seemingly to get some attention. And it’s a temporary thing. And I, you know, I my eyes focused where I need to have been focused did not to the extent that Vivek continues to be the kind of guy you wanted to stuff in the locker in the 11th grade, you know we’ll deal with him. But the fact is that we have important issues to deal with in this country and people who have experience and are thoughtful about the need to deal with them. And that’s what I intend to do.

Brian Kilmeade [00:01:19] Yeah, I mean, he’s really bright. I’m very friendly with them. I did his feature and his book came out. The success he had before 40, almost no one, including me, whatever experience. But when it comes to foreign policy and some other issues, I just looked at your face at the debate in Milwaukee. You leaned forward and you thought to yourself, is this happening?

Chris Christie [00:01:39] You look.

Brian Kilmeade [00:01:40] And that’s going to.

Chris Christie [00:01:43] Bring you know, you know, I don’t think it should be American policy to treat Israel like we treat every other country in the Middle East when Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. I don’t think it should be American policy to give it give away Taiwan to the Chinese. I don’t think it should be American policy to cuddle up to a brutal, autocratic dictator like Amir Putin with the hopes that he’s going to like us more than he’s going to like another brutal, autocratic dictator in Xi Jinping in China. And as I predicted on the debate stage down, North Korea wants to get involved in the game because Joe Biden is so weak that everybody feels like now’s the time to take advantage. And Vivek is essentially playing that same game. So, you know, these are the realistic things. The good news is we only had one debate so far. We have another one in three weeks, and I’m looking forward to being there.

Brian Kilmeade [00:02:37] You, I understand, believe that President Trump will be at the Alabama debate. I don’t know who’s carry it or details. Bill, why do you believe that?

Chris Christie [00:02:47] Because they think, you know, he lost you off that opportunity, I think in, you know, in Milwaukee to be there and I think to be able to articulate what he wants. I think he thinks the audience at the University of Alabama would be a favorable one for him. He likes that. And I think he’s going to want to get in the middle of this thing. So I think he’ll be there. I’m going to be there. So doesn’t matter to me whether he’s there or not. But if he is there to certainly be a bit of a different atmosphere on the stage.

Brian Kilmeade [00:03:16] So I want you to hear George STEPHANOPOULOS place used to be full time. I imagine you got benefits if you chose to take them or you could use your I’ve said something personal for you but ABC. George STEPHANOPOULOS this week with him, he was actually on the show and here’s what he was just shocked by the new poll that has Trump and Biden locked at 46% cut to it is.

Speaker 3 [00:03:37] Kind of shocking in a way that despite all of the baggage that Donald Trump carries, he’s tied with Joe Biden right now with every passing month, with every new indictment, Donald Trump seems to be consolidating his control over the Republican.

Brian Kilmeade [00:03:50] Party and as much experience as you had and he’s had an every expert had no one predicted anything that’s happening right now for indictments. I don’t know if anyone said for his the reaction for the public. I believe they’ve gone so far. They’ve made Donald Trump a sympathetic figure, which I don’t even think he’s comfortable with. Do you agree?

Chris Christie [00:04:16] Look, I think that what’s happened here is that all of this stuff is theoretical, but it’s an indictment. I think the problems for Donald Trump are going to come when he’s got to go to trial in two different respects. The first is that evidence is actually going to be presented by live witnesses and documents that will make people, I think, feel significantly differently about this and may make them feel much less like some of these charges than, you know, Brian, I don’t agree with the New York case. I don’t think it should have been brought and I don’t think that a case should have been brought against Donald Trump. He had already been charged with essentially the same crimes in the federal case that I think both the state cases went well overboard and I wouldn’t have brought them. But on the two federal cases, I think when those and that evidence start to be presented, it becomes much more real to people. Secondly, he’s going to be sitting in a courtroom for all of March and much of April every day. It’s not optional to show up for your criminal trial or not as it is for a civil trial. And so he’s going to have to be there every day. I’m not out there making the case against Joe Biden when when those things happen. I think this race changes significantly as those things become more of a reality as we get closer to it. I think the race changes.

Brian Kilmeade [00:05:41] And I know that’s what everybody’s banking on. But yes, because it’s a pretty big deficit between to say it is you. Nikki Haley, the vague. So as you look at that, when you strategize and it is to me like sports, when you strategize, is your goal to get ahead of DeSantis or is your goal to get ahead of Trump?

Chris Christie [00:06:04] Well, I’m already ahead of the states in New Hampshire in the last poll by five points and within 20 of Trump and Trump’s at 34 in the latest New Hampshire polls. So, look, this is why these national polls are foolhardy, Brian. We don’t have a national primary. We have a state by state primary. This should remind everybody of 2016 when Hillary Clinton was ahead of Donald Trump in every national poll going into general Election Day. And then Donald Trump gets 386 electoral votes. Why? Because this is a state by state race, both in the primary and in the general election. And so to me, national polls are meaningless. They show trend, but they don’t show anything other than that. And what we’re seeing in New Hampshire is that we’ve gone from 0 to 14% in three months, and we’re going to continue to climb in New Hampshire. And then if Donald Trump were to lose one of those elections in Iowa or New Hampshire or South Carolina or Nevada in the first four, but it becomes an entirely different race. So, you know, the election is not going to be held today. And I know, you know, for some reason, there’s always an obsession among people that they want an end to race before it starts. It’s not going to happen. So we’re going to continue to run the race. We’re going to run hard in New Hampshire and South Carolina. And we’re going to see where this ends up in January and February, not in September.

Brian Kilmeade [00:07:36] Was Ron DeSantis wrong not to show up with Joe Biden in Florida after the hurricane?

Chris Christie [00:07:43] Sure. He was playing politics with it, but that’s his choice. I’m not the least bit surprised that that’s what he chose to do. You’re the governor of the state. The United States comes and you’re asking the the United States of the Congress for significant aid, which I have to say this is doing, and especially if you voted against it ten years ago for the aid, you should have been there with the president to welcome it. Fortunately, Rick Scott, the United States senator and a former governor, two term governor who knows what it means to be governor showed up and made sure that the president saw the things that he needed to see. Your job as governor is to be the tour guide for the president is to make sure the president sees your people, see the damage, see the suffering, what’s going on, and what needs to be done to rebuild it. You’re doing your job. And unfortunately, he put politics ahead of his job. That was his choice.

Brian Kilmeade [00:08:48] Yeah, we’ll see how it goes. I think in his mind and I have not talked to those guys, they saw an ad coming out from his Republican opponents. Ron DeSantis is really a Democrat. Guess we decided to show up with Joe Biden and praise Joe Biden for as he wants to heap praise for Joe Biden for his support. That happened to you? Correct.

Chris Christie [00:09:09] It did. It did. I wouldn’t do a thing differently because my obligation is to the people who elected me and the people who elected me. Will all the people of the state of New Jersey. And guess what? We were able to rebuild our state in record time, be able to bring it back to where it needed to be returned. Our tourism up the very next summer. Remember, Sandy happened October 29. By the next summer, tourism was back at the Jersey Shore because of the way we worked with the federal government to get the aid we needed to get things done. I think people should want someone who wants to do their job first and foremost while they’re auditioning for another job, not the audition for the other job and the politics ahead of doing things for the people of Florida.

Brian Kilmeade [00:10:00] So we had President Biden out over the weekend, and there are times when you want to say the economy, great, That’s your you could look at certain numbers. Everybody knows that as part of politics. I look at the job numbers, I look at the fact of growth and I add. But I’ve never seen someone blatantly lie about a liability. And one of.

Speaker 4 [00:10:17] The things that he’s lied about is that he cut the deficit, and I cannot believe this, but the federal deficit not only is not cut, it doubled for the first time without a catastrophe or a war from 1 trillion last year to 2 trillion for this fiscal year, and it’s going to go up again. All the spending.

Brian Kilmeade [00:10:33] Programs that he passed on, mostly a partizan vote. Some were bipartisan on on the infrastructure that have now come into play and the money that is not there.

Speaker 4 [00:10:45] We have spent 6.7 trillion. We have only we’ve only had 4.5 trillion in revenue. And the president, United States actually stood on the stage. I think it was Philadelphia and said, I’m cutting the deficit. How do you attack somebody that blatantly takes his.

Brian Kilmeade [00:11:03] Viability and tries to reverse it? The other thing he says is Republicans have been bad on fentanyl and I’m going to crack down on it.

Speaker 4 [00:11:09] That type of jujitsu almost seems so farcical. But are you concerned it’s going to work?

Chris Christie [00:11:16] It’s only going to work if the person running against him in November has their own credibility problems. That’s the only way it’s going to work, Brian. The fact is that we know what I’ve been talking about, the spending that’s been done, quite frankly, since Barack Obama. Obama, Trump and Biden have added trillions, trillions and trillions to the deficit. Trump’s added over six and a half trillion dollars in four years to deficit. Biden’s adding even more. He’s going to outstrip Trump for years.

Brian Kilmeade [00:11:52] Without a pandemic. And I like to take Trump’s record, and I think you agree with me prior to the pandemic, don’t you think?

Chris Christie [00:12:00] Well, look, I’m I’m excluding pandemic spending, right? If you add pandemic spending, it’s over 8 trillion. Look, Donald Trump admitted it himself. He had no interest in fiscal responsibility. He did. And he spent the way he spent. That’s fine. He’ll have to defend that at some point. But it becomes very difficult if you don’t have a great record on spending to be able to call Joe Biden out on his lies. Joe Biden is lying. He’s lying in a big way. With inflation, it’s still 70%.

Brian Kilmeade [00:12:33] More easy.

Chris Christie [00:12:33] For families to buy anything than it did when Joe Biden became president. They still are having their wages fall behind what their what their costs are. People feel like they’re worse off in America today than when Joe Biden became president. Because they are. And it’s becoming harder and harder for them to be able to put food on the table, put gas in the car, cool their homes in the summer, heat their homes in the winter because of his awful energy policy. I mean, look, there’s so much to go after this guy on how to get back to your original point. That’s why we don’t want to be talking next fall about whether Donald Trump was convicted in the trials or will be. We want to be talking about Joe Biden’s awful performance as president of the United States.

Brian Kilmeade [00:13:21] Governor Christie, you don’t have a mets playoff run to distract you. You can focus on your own run. So best of luck. Thanks to checking in with us. It’s after Labor Day. Nobody can say it doesn’t matter anymore. Go get em. Go.

Chris Christie [00:13:33] Yeah. It’s game time, Brian, for. For politics. But not for our Mac.

Brian Kilmeade [00:13:38] Not now. Not for your Mets or the Yankees. Thanks so much.