November 22nd, 2015
11:42 AM ET

Christie: Mayor de Blasio "should be mayor of Damascus"

SOTU

Today on CNN’s State of the Union, Governor and presidential candidate Chris Christie (R-NJ), joined anchor, Jake Tapper to discuss the threat of ISIS and the 2016 presidential election.

For more information, see http://cnnpressroom.blogs.cnn.com/. Also, text highlights and a transcript of the discussion are below.

MANDATORY CREDIT: CNN’s “State of the Union”

Contacts: Lauren Pratapas — Lauren.Pratapas@turner.com; 202.465.6666; Zachary Lilly – Zachary.Lilly@turner.com

TEXT HIGHLIGHTS

 

Christie on the changes made to U.S. information gathering techniques: “And I know that what we did this summer was wrong.  I said it was wrong at the time, and it's now being proven to have been wrong, when we cut back on the NSA's metadata collection program and have been destroying the morale of our intelligence officers. We need to rebuild that program.  We need to rebuild the morale of our intelligence.  We need to support law enforcement, which this administration hasn't been doing.  And the FBI director himself said there's a chill wind through law enforcement. We need to do all those things first and foremost, Jake, to protect the homeland, because the number one job of the president of the United States is to protect the safety and security of the American people.  National security is not an option.  It's a fundamental right.  And that's what we will be focused on. “

Christie reacts to settlement of Syrian refugees inside New Jersey: “We should have been informed about it.  And we were not. And this is part of the problem with this administration.  They're an imperial administration that just decides they're going to place people in individual states and not even inform the state of government of the fact that they have done it.  That information is just recently released. And they're placing them through nongovernmental organizations and not giving any information to the state governments until just recently, when we demanded them and there was public pressure on them to do that.  And so the fact is that we should have these folks vetted and vetted well.  The FBI director says they cannot be vetted. Jake, this is not me saying it.  This is the president's own FBI director saying it.  And so the president needs to get his own story straight in Washington, D.C.  Then he can get folks, political appointees like John Kerry and Jeh Johnson, to write whatever letters they want to the governors.  The FBI director testified before Congress.”

Christie responds to Kasich’s proposed agency to promote Judeo-Christian values: “I don't think that's something we need to do. What I want to see is a nation that continues to say, we want you to practice your religion and practice it vigorously.  And as long as you practice it peacefully, and you're not trying to impose your religious values on anyone else, then you should be able to practice it the way you want. I don't think we need another government agency, quite frankly.  I don't think we need to add more layers of bureaucracy to this government and add more expense.  And so, no, that's not something I would favor.”

Christie on rules of engagement and civilian casualties: “ISIS doesn't seem to be concerned about civilian casualties, Jake. And we need to get real about this.  And we need to bring our allies together and revise rules of engagement to make sure that what we're doing is taking on ISIS in a significant, direct way that will be effective. And, obviously, this president was wrong when he said on Thursday of last week that ISIS was contained.  And then the next day, the attacks started in Paris.  So, this - this administration has no credibility in giving us any type of assessment of how this is going.  We have the attacks in Mali now.  He said al Qaeda was on the run.  Obviously, that's wrong as well.”

 

FULL TRANSCRIPT

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

 

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR:  Police still on the hunt for at least one of the Paris attackers who escaped, and Belgium warning its citizens of a - quote - "serious and imminent threat" to its capital, Brussels, suspending subway service and telling people not to go near the train station or the airport.  the U.S. Embassy there has told Americans to shelter in place.

At home, President Obama this morning said he's determined to prevent an ISIS attack on U.S. soil.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I think that the American people are in - are right to be concerned and to expect that we in the government and in law enforcement are doing everything we can to disrupt terrorist attacks, to intercept intelligence that may lead us to individuals who are willing to carry out these attacks.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER:  President Obama has spent the week battling critics who say his plan to accept thousands of Syrian refugees puts the United States in danger.

One of those critics, Republican presidential candidate and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who joins me now live from New Hampshire.

Governor Christie, thanks for joining us.

A lot of people are afraid.  They're looking for answers about how to fight and defeat ISIS.  I want you to take a listen to what the front-runner of your party, Donald Trump, has had to say this week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Should we have a database system that tracks the Muslims here in this country?

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  There should be a lot of systems.  Beyond database, I mean, we should have a lot of systems.  And, today, you can do it.

I want surveillance of certain mosques, OK, if that's OK.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP:  I will also quickly and decisively bomb the hell out of ISIS.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER:  Governor Christie, you're speaking Tuesday to the Council on Foreign Relations about your approach to international relations.  How are you going to be different from your party's front-runner?

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Listen, first off, Jake, what we have got and what we will talk about on Tuesday is an approach that is - that is based in my experience.

I'm the only person in this race who has actually done this before.  I was United States attorney for seven years in New Jersey in the immediate aftermath of September 11.  I brought two of the most major terrorism cases this country has brought in the aftermath of September 11.

And I know that what we did this summer was wrong.  I said it was wrong at the time, and it's now being proven to have been wrong, when we cut back on the NSA's metadata collection program and have been destroying the morale of our intelligence officers.

We need to rebuild that program.  We need to rebuild the morale of our intelligence.  We need to support law enforcement, which this administration hasn't been doing.  And the FBI director himself said there's a chill wind through law enforcement.

We need to do all those things first and foremost, Jake, to protect the homeland, because the number one job of the president of the United States is to protect the safety and security of the American people.  National security is not an option.  It's a fundamental right.  And that's what we will be focused on.

TAPPER:  Governor Christie, you said yesterday in New Hampshire that this campaign changed eight days ago, but Donald Trump, Ben Carson still in the lead in national polls.

Take a look at this new poll, Donald Trump - from ABC News/"Washington Post," Donald Trump way out in front, 32 percent, Ben Carson 22 percent.

How has this campaign changed?  Why do you think this is your time, as opposed to the front-runner, Donald Trump?

CHRISTIE:  Well, listen, what I'm saying to you, Jake, is that I can feel it on the ground here in New Hampshire.

The questions in town hall meetings - and I did two of them yesterday - are much different.  They're totally focused now on national security and how we're going to protect our homeland.  And I think you're going to see that ultimately reflected in the polls, that people are going to want to see someone who has got experience and knows how to do this in charge of our party and in charge of this country.

TAPPER:  New York Mayor Bill de Blasio went after you pretty hard this week for saying that, right now, you don't want to accept any Syrian refugees, not even orphans under 5.  Take a listen to the mayor.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL DE BLASIO (D), MAYOR OF NEW YORK:  Governor Christie specifically said he didn't think it was appropriate for small children to be brought in.  Is this what he wants to see happen to people?  Is this what he wants to see happen to children?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER:  I don't know if you could - if you have seen the clip, but it's Mayor de Blasio holding up a clip of that iconic dead Syrian little boy on the beach.

Does a 5-year-old orphan need to be vetted?  Senator Rubio said yesterday in Iowa - quote - "If it's a 5-year-old child, that's pretty easy to vet."

CHRISTIE:  As - as murders rise 11 percent in New York City, as the commissioner of police in New York says that homelessness and vagrants on the streets continue to rise to new high levels, believe me, Mayor de Blasio should worry more about trying to get something done in the city of New York to make it safer than he would worrying about criticizing anybody else.

And, quite frankly, given the way he's talking, and not worried about the security and the safety of the people of New York, maybe he should be mayor of Damascus.

TAPPER:  Well, I understand you're taking issue with how he's running New York City, but let's turn to his argument, which is, we have seen these very compelling images of people who are obviously not ISIS terrorists, little children and their moms.

Why are they dangerous to the United States to take them in?  Why should the United States not be helping these desperate people?

CHRISTIE:  First of all, Jake, the FBI director himself said they can't vet these folks.  The FBI director sat before Congress last week and said they cannot vet these folks.

Secondly, we had a woman who was wearing an explosive vest in Paris who blew herself up when approached by police this week.  I don't understand the distinction, quite frankly.  And what we need to do is to protect the homeland first, Jake.

TAPPER:  I think police actually...

CHRISTIE:  And there's no way for us to vet these folks.

TAPPER:  The police actually have said that, as they have studied that crime scene further, she was not wearing a suicide vest, although her role with the terrorists is still unknown.

But let me ask you.  About 75 Syrian refugees have already settled in your home state of New Jersey since the start of the year, according to new data from the State Department.  Should they be ousted from your state?

CHRISTIE:  Jake, what should have been happened is, we should have been informed about it.  And we were not.

And this is part of the problem with this administration.  They're an imperial administration that just decides they're going to place people in individual states and not even inform the state of government of the fact that they have done it.  That information is just recently released.

And they're placing them through nongovernmental organizations and not giving any information to the state governments until just recently, when we demanded them and there was public pressure on them to do that.  And so the fact is that we should have these folks vetted and vetted well.  The FBI director says they cannot be vetted.

Jake, this is not me saying it.  This is the president's own FBI director saying it.  And so the president needs to get his own story straight in Washington, D.C.  Then he can get folks, political appointees like John Kerry and Jeh Johnson, to write whatever letters they want to the governors.  The FBI director testified before Congress.

TAPPER:  The FBI director also said that he had serious concerns about the legislation that just passed the House of Representatives which blocked Syrian and Iraqi refugees.

What do you think about these 75 Syrian refugees in your home state?  Will you pursue a plan to oust them from your state, or is it OK that they're there?

CHRISTIE:  Jake, what we're going to do and what we should be doing as a country is to set up a no-fly zone in Syria.  And we should set up a safe haven in Syria, so these folks don't have to leave their country in the first place.

This is - this is something that the president has created.  His failure to enforce his red line, his invitation for Russia to come into Syria, his inaction as this - as this crisis has spiraled out of control has created this crisis.

And now he wants the American people to absorb this crisis that he has created.  He should set up a no-fly zone in Syria and a safe zone in Syria for refugees to be able to stay inside their own country.  This is not an issue we should even have to be addressing inside the United States.

TAPPER:  In the wake of the Paris attacks, Democrats are arguing that if you - not you, but if someone is on a terror watch list or a no-fly list, they shouldn't be able to buy a gun.

According to the Government Accountability Office, over the past decade, suspected terrorists exploited a loophole more than 2,000 times.  Now, when you signed - in your auspices as governor, you signed legislation to close the loophole in New Jersey, so that if you're on one of those watch lists, you cannot purchase a gun in New Jersey.

Do you support Dianne Feinstein's legislation to do this nationwide?

CHRISTIE:  I think these are state-by-state determinations, Jake, and they should be made state by state.

TAPPER:  One of your Republican rivals, Governor John Kasich, said this week the U.S. should create a new government agency to promote Judeo-Christian values around the world.

Some think such an agency would violate the separation between church and state.  What do you think?

CHRISTIE:  I don't think that's something we need to do.

What I want to see is a nation that continues to say, we want you to practice your religion and practice it vigorously.  And as long as you practice it peacefully, and you're not trying to impose your religious values on anyone else, then you should be able to practice it the way you want.

I don't think we need another government agency, quite frankly.  I don't think we need to add more layers of bureaucracy to this government and add more expense.  And so, no, that's not something I would favor.

TAPPER:  A few days ago, when I was Paris, I interviewed Brett McGurk.  He's the president's special envoy to the coalition to fight ISIS.

I asked him about the air campaign against ISIS, and he acknowledged - quote - "We're careful about civilian casualties."  Quote: "Collateral damage is something that matters to us."

Do you think, as commander in chief, the rules of engagement should be changed, even if it puts civilians at risk more?

CHRISTIE:  ISIS doesn't seem to be concerned about civilian casualties, Jake.

And we need to get real about this.  And we need to bring our allies together and revise rules of engagement to make sure that what we're doing is taking on ISIS in a significant, direct way that will be effective.

And, obviously, this president was wrong when he said on Thursday of last week that ISIS was contained.  And then the next day, the attacks started in Paris.  So, this - this administration has no credibility in giving us any type of assessment of how this is going.  We have the attacks in Mali now.  He said al Qaeda was on the run.  Obviously, that's wrong as well.

He said our borders were secure.  That's wrong.  This president has been wrong.  I will tell you, Jake, when I think back on this administration, the way I will think of President Obama is often wrong, but never in doubt.

TAPPER:  Governor Chris Christie in New Hampshire, we will see you on the campaign trail, sir.  Thanks for joining us.

CHRISTIE:  Thank you, Jake.  Looking forward to it.

TAPPER:  We would like to note that we invited the Obama administration to provide us with a guest to discuss Paris, the refugee crisis, preventing further terrorist attacks.  The Obama administration declined.

 

###END INTERVIEW###

tmpl
soundoff (No Responses)

Comments are closed.