Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie returned to his alma mater at the University of Delaware Wednesday on the heels of Tuesday’s Election Day, as the clock turns towards a possible Impeachment of a former political opponent, and friend.
(VIDEO | Chris Christie on Tuesday's election results, Trump's impeachment situation)
Christie was asked if Tuesday’s results that saw Kentucky’s Republican Governor Matt Bevin lose and Virginia’s state house and senate go democratic will mean much on the Presidential level 12 months from now.
“Not much. They’re very localized races. In Kentucky, if you look at the returns, there were six statewide races, Republicans won five of the six. Matt Bevin, the Governor who I know and served with, was not a very popular guy in Kentucky. He was caustic and abrasive, and this will tell you all you need to know about Kentucky, he was caustic and abrasive and he only lost by 5,000 votes out of 1.3 million. Every other Republican down the line won. It’s Kentucky, Donald Trump won it by 30 points in 2016. It doesn’t tell us much of anything except Andy Beshear was a very nice guy, which was a nice contrast to Bevin. Bevin is a lot of things, but a nice guy is not one of them, and Basheer is a nice man, and that killed Bevin.
“And I think Virginia is a blue state now. I think with the predominance of government workers in the northern part of the state in the Washington suburbs, you’ve seen consistently since Obama won in 2008, it’s been going more and more blue. They’ve had two Democratic Governors since Bob McDonnell left office, and it seems like they’ve been inexorably marching towards being a blue state.”
Christie graduated from Delaware in 1984, and served as Governor of the Garden State from 2010-2018.
During his time leading New Jersey, the Republican often had to work with a Democratic state senate, making compromise vital to getting things done.
Christie was asked if that can be duplicated at the national level, with President Trump being investigated.
“Not for the next year. We’re going to go through impeachment, a trail, and then an election. The chance for him to do that has passed. Can we do that in the next four years? I’m skeptical, depending on who the Democratic candidate is. I think there are one or two people over there who would take that approach, I think the rest of them would not, and take a more Trump-like approach, which is put the uniforms on and start hitting. I’m not very hopeful at the moment, but I’m hopeful in the longer term, next five years, that this thing will exhaust the American people. They’ll be exhausted by the volume, and they’ll be exhausted by the lack of progress on things they care about. I think the combination of the two will lead to a very different election in 2024, but it’s not going to happen in the next year. Both sides have agreed they don’t want to do it.”
Christie said partisan politics will continue to play a role in Trump’s impeachment situation, saying a devil’s advocate situation shows it might not really matter what happens over the next three months.
“Let me just play out a scenario for you that in my mind is not only possible, but likely. Let’s say, if they wanted to impeach him and remove him in January, which is probably when the vote would happen, do you think Donald Trump is running for re-election, after being impeached and removed? You bet he is. Who is going to challenge him in the Republican primary? Would his Vice President challenge his boss? I don’t think so. So you have a situation where they remove the President of the United States, and he says to hell with you people, you’re 535 people, I’ll let the American people decide, and I’m running. I’m willing to bet you if that happened he’d get the Republican nomination, and then you’d have a Presidential race where the Republican nominee for President, one of the two major nominees, would be the first person impeached and removed from office. Put aside the facts of this case, that’s never going to happen. Twenty Republican United States Senators are not going to say my judgement is more powerful and more important than the American people.
Christie pushed Trump in 2016, but said Trump’s style resembled his, but on blast. As for coming back at the end of a possible Trump second term for a 2024 run, Christie was non-committal, but said there are guidelines he’ll follow.
“Oh God, I don’t know yet. Once you decide in your own mind, and it took me a while to decide this, that you could President, then it’s hard to stop wanting to be President. You watch everything that goes on and you say to yourself ‘oh, I wouldn’t have done that,’ or you would have done this less aggressively. I can’t help myself, so I would never rule it out, but I was thinking tonight at dinner, I can’t do it again unless I think I have a chance to win. I felt like I had a legitimate chance to win in in 2016 but it didn’t work out, but I never woke up in the morning during the race thinking what the hell am I doing here in Iowa and New Hampshire.”
“I’d have to have Mary Pat’s [his wife he met at Delaware] support, I’d have to have my children’s support, I’d have to believe I could win, I’d have to believe the atmosphere is conducive to my style of leadership, and I’d have to believe I could honestly make a difference in the country. If I check those five boxes I run, if I don’t check all five of them, I don’t.”
Christie might not be ready for a 2024 run yet, but he does describe his political life in his book “Let Me Finish: Trump, the Kushners, Bannon, New Jersey, and the Power of In-Your-Face Politics.”